What Kind of Church . . . A Very Different Looking Church

 Sorry, I said that I was going to write every week, how about every two weeks? 

We are exploring the question, What kind of church does God want us to be in the neighborhood?  As I have been leading the church down this road I believe that we are going to have a very bumpy road to travel because we continue to have the mindset that people must come to us.

 As I write this I am sitting in a local coffeeshop watching people and asking myself, How do we proclaim Christ to these people?  The people I am surrounded around are businessmen dressed in business casual clothes, single mothers pushing their strollers, a few students working on some school projects and a few retired individuals. As I look at these people sitting and drinking their outrageously overpriced latte’s and organic coffee (yes, I am one of them) I think that our current church culture and environment would be/is foreign to them.  We sing hymns that were written 200 years ago and use words and language I still don’t understand.  We sit in pews and look at the back of each other’s heads.  We don’t foster an environment where community is expected but rather we foster an environment where the individual matters.  I have a feeling that if we are going to be a neighborhood church we are going to have to develop a very different “church environment.”

Here is what I envision.  I envision entering into the low-income neighborhood across the street and creating an environment where Christ is preached, disciples are made and all this is done outside the church building.  For example, in the midst of this neighborhood there is a Grades 1-8 school. What would happen if we rented this school and opened the gymnasium to the kids in the neighborhood?  We have organized games of basketball and floor hockey and volleyball.  After an hour of playing we have some drinks and maybe some pizza for the kids.  During this time we have a few individuals give a skit – a skit telling a story from scripture.  After this time we tell the kids that we will do the same thing next week at the same time.  After we gain respect and credibility in the neighborhood we invite the parents to have coffee while the kids are playing and again we use this time to foster relationships with the people.  Maybe after several months of being the presence of Christ in the neighborhood we advertise that we are going to have a worship service on Sunday morning with food for everyone afterwards.  At this worship service we sing some songs, have a prayer, tell the stories of Jesus, and than eat a meal together, but also include sharing the bread and wine together as we eat with one another.

 

See the difference?  We are not expecting people to come to us and join us in our form and method of worship.  We are gaining friendships, developing relationships and inviting them to a worship service that is on their turf and is something that would not be foreign to them. 

We have to dissolve the mindset that people must come to us and join us in our church culture and environment.  We must begin to think like missionaries and join the people in their culture and environment.  We must go to the people and be the presence of Jesus.

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Published in: on September 24, 2007 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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