One of the hardest things for a church to do is actively participate in the life of a community. Churches are excellent at creating communities, at drawing the community in, at building programs targeted at a specific community, but the task of actually going out and integrating into a community is a tricky thing. Our "church" is in the community in the form of people, but how are we corporately involved? Our starting place this week is the cliche question: if your church closed tomorrow, would anybody outside of it notice?
Last week, our podcast guest talked about how important it is for church leaders to recognize the leadership that their church members demonstrate in their everyday lives. He challenged us to think beyond "church" and see people as fully integrated; to break down the divide between church on Sunday and living as the church every day. We believe that our corporate body should be as integral to the community as our individual members are, but we recognize that it's difficult to accomplish.
As leaders, we often want to start our planning, by planning our programs. But programs are usually designed to bring people into our buildings or onto our properties, not to take our body out into the community. It's tough to admit, but we can't programmatically approach our desire to be a part of the community. We need to practice a relational approach, and be emotionally invested in people. We should be comfortable up front with a commitment not measured in weekends, but in years.
We hope this week to start a conversation that won't get wrapped up by Friday. This is an issue we want to continually wrestle with here at 200churches, because we believe that the church should be an integral part of the community. Corporately and individually, we are called to be salt and light in this world. We want our 200church to be missed if it closes, and we want yours to be, too. So we hope you enjoy the Podcast and blogs this week, and please chime in about your own struggles and triumphs integrating your church into your community.
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