I have done quite a bit of looking around lately. I have made it a point to intentionally notice the people and places around our church. I have noticed that we have both the traditional family structure and single-parent families in our area of influence. I have noticed that we have different races, nationalities, and religious beliefs in our area of influence. I have noticed that we have both ends of the economic spectrum in our area of influence, often living close together. I have noticed that we have people that share similar interests or are linked by some common bond. Some of these in our area of influence are skateboarders, multi-housing, and the military.
There is a reality that I believe I have always known to be true. That reality: there are people who will not connect with the body of Christ through the old “they know we’re here” mentality. Because everyone does not look, act, or respond in the same ways, our ministry approach must fit them. It is up to the church to go to the people. In the Parable of the Great Supper, Jesus tells the story of a man who prepared a banquet and when time come for the guests to arrive, excuses were made as to why they could not. The master of the banquet then went intentionally looking for those who would come. In Luke 14:23 we have the words of Jesus, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be full’. I believe there is a principle that we can carry over to the church today. We have made ready. We have prepared places and ministries. We have sat back and waited. We are to go out to where the people are.
Last night, I met with our Church Council, which is made of staff and department leaders. I appreciate this group of people for their passion in their area of service. I am thankful for their desire to see the lives of people changed. As we discussed upcoming community ministry, I posed a question to our leaders and challenged them to some “outside of the box” thinking. Here is the question I posed: ‘What meaningful services can we provide for our community that would be unavailable to them or cost them to obtain?’ I asked them to join me in considering this question and come up with areas of need that we meet “outside” the church walls. I am excited about what I am going to hear. I am looking forward to our church increasing its area of influence in our community.