I had an interesting conversation with a good friend a couple of weeks ago. We were talking about the church, and he said there are three kinds of churches: the Hotel, the Asylum, and the Hospital. I don't know if this is his analogy or if he adapted it from something he heard somewhere else, but I found it interesting. Here's what he said.
The Hotel model is the kind of church where people come in and don't lift a finger: all the work is done by someone else. Their stay is temporary, it does not become their home, and it usually isn't long before they check out -- leaving nothing of themselves behind, taking with them all they brought in.
The Asylum model is the kind of church where people arrive with problems and leave with their problems multiplied. It's a place where people go but never get better, and sometimes they get worse.
The Hospital model is the kind of church where hurting people can find healing. There are sick people in the hospital-church, but they're not judged for being sick -- they're just made whole again.
Our purpose, clearly, is to be a hospital for the sin-sick soul. Our goal is to help people find healing for their broken lives through the healing power of Jesus Christ.