In Medieval society, a drawbridge was used by the people of a castle, facility or walled city to prevent outsiders from getting in. The design purpose of the drawbridge was primarily for military defense, so enemies could not even get to the gates. It basically told passer-bys – STAY OUT – . It allowed people to stay huddled in their fortresses and keep the rest of the world out. They would build a moat or place the castle on a ridge surrounded by a precipice so that it could be completely secured and impenetrable…until you lowered the drawbridge or some other means of transversing the divide could be conceived and constructed.
When the drawbridge was lowered, the edifice and its occupants were unprotected. They were vulnerable to attack as well as allowing access to those in the villages, region, community, etc. But if things ever got tenuous or uncomfortable and “messy”, the occupants could quickly raise the drawbridge and close off access once again.
In modern society, we do not see many drawbridges at peoples homes, businesses, commercial complexes or churches. However, metaphorically, we still have erected them in many aspects of our lives. We have contrived theoretical drawbridges and moats around many components of our existence. We try to keep ourselves “safe” from outside influences and by doing so, shut out the harmful as well as good that could impact our lives.
Figure out how, in your context and community, to lower the drawbridge and invite the community onto your campus.
In relationship to our churches, many of us have done the exact same thing. We have built environments that feel cold and isolationist to the community or worse…blatantly tell people to STAY OUT. “Church Parking Only”. “Members Only”. “No Trespassing”.
In other instances we have designed out campuses in such a way that all you can see is the front door and no sign of people doing life together. Or we develop exterior environments that are tucked away from plain sight of the watching community…trying to get a glimpse of what is behind the scary walls of the ominous church steeple and four white columns.
These are all kin to digging a moat and raising the proverbial drawbridge. Uninviting. Closed. Isolationist.
What might be a better approach, would be to figure out how, in your context and community, to lower the drawbridge and invite the community onto your campus. What things could you do physically, visually, pragmatically, relationally, outreach, etc. that would lower the drawbridge and invite people to do life with you.
Let’s abolish the drawbridge!
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