A while ago I read an interesting article by Miles McPherson on the Catalyst Blog that begins with a great question,
If your church closed down tomorrow, would anyone notice? Would there be a negative impact on your community?
I think every church has a desire to have an impact in their community. Even the church I work at, has this desire written into our purpose statement. But it is important to evaluate what kind of impact we are really having. A good start is Mile’s question.
Then, in the article Miles goes on to say the following:
Imagine if people in your congregation were initiating contact with community agencies, building positive relationships, and securing partnerships for the ministry.
He describes how his church has intentionally encouraged their people to volunteer in various community organizations in their city, outside the church walls. He describes the impact they are making as a result.
Included in the article is a marketing pitch for a resource they are releasing, but the question Miles asked is the same question I’ve often grappled with. Is our impact more measurable by the things we do outside the walls of the church or inside the church? Certainly, we need volunteers to implement all the activities in the church:
- musicians, singers, sound tech, media operators etc. for worship services
- ushers, greeters.
- children’s workers
- class teachers
I don’t discount their value. But I wonder, would it be worthwhile to keep things in the church as simple as possible so we can encourage people to have more impact outside the church in the time they have available to give?
Let’s flip this around a bit. How often does the church berate or complain about people not attending and showing their commitment to church activity and programming when some of those same people are volunteering in the midst of the community we’re called to reach by:
- serving as coaches, helpers, fundraisers in their sports organizations
- volunteering at their local schools
- participating in organizations like, Heart and Stroke foundation, Red Cross etc.
- participating in a neighborhood association…
- involved in organizations like the Rotary Club, or other clubs like it…
- helping out with soup kitchens, homeless shelters
What do you think? How do you see the church of Christ making the biggest impact? How do we get there?
I don’t think the church can ever be effective until the individual member decides within them self to make a difference. There needs to be more church outside the church walls. Great post Darren.
Great point Dan! Thanks for commenting 🙂
I like the idea of keeping church as simple as possible. I think the other area that is a struggle is just having people form strong relationships in their neighbourhoods because we are so busy with many activities. People are longing for authenic friendships. Great post.
Thanks Heather for commenting!