Acts 11:2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of the uncircumcised and ate with them.”
Perhaps most challenging part of being an incarnational missionary to the urban community is that it often goes against what we have been taught as disciples in the church. We are often taught to totally separate ourselves from the world and totally immerse ourselves in the church. We are told that certain neighborhoods are dangerous. The effective missionary knows that to remain separate is to kill any chance of transforming the culture that surrounds him.
To reach the un-churched culture, we must be where the un-churched are. That means that we don't sit in our church building and simply pray for people to come. The missionary must begin to place himself where the culture finds its answers to life. That is, in the media, social gatherings, public schools, protest gatherings, concerts etc. If we are worried about how the church sees us then our eyes are fixed on the wrong goal. Even Peter, the Apostle who stood up for reaching Gentiles, shrank back from sitting with the Gentiles because of what the rest of the church might say.
Gal. 2.11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
I myself have been in some pretty unholy places, not for pleasure, but to meet people who need God's love. I am praying for some of our mission churches to bravely go where the church normally doesn't go. I am praying that every day we have more radical evangelists who are unashamedly moving among the club goers, dope dealers, seedy street corners and the homes where the the people are who most need Jesus. How else will they hear about what God has done for them? I pray that more testimonies will come back to our gatherings about how the Holy Spirit descended upon even "those people." I pray that one day, that kind of fearless love is what we're known for as a ministry.
Just for kicks, here's a picture of myself and Edward back in the day at a family party, before he came to Christ. Edward is now studying to be a pastor in the seminary program.