Lately I have been thinking about Christian Community. Seeing that Emergent church has designed their view on building community focused churches has made an impact, but why is it that the traditional church that still holds to the truth of Scripture do not have strong communities that is inviting and impacting? I have been trying to wrap my mind around the issues that could come from being a church that has a community minded view.
Why is it that so many young people are attracted to other religions? I have asked several young people about what they would like to see in youth ministry and in the church that would encourage them to go or come back to church. Almost every single one of them pointed out, a community. When going to church, is not that a community? I remember when I graduated from my church went off to college and then came back after my first year to stay. I wanted to find a way to serve and feel connected. The only answers I got was: 1) Join the choir 2) be a golfer for the youth pastor… really??? I ended up leaving and became a youth leader at another church, but I only had the youth ministry as “my” community.
I realize today that many churches are leaning on the tradition atmosphere to be attractive to the culture today, but the culture is not interested in Jesus as the ONLY answer. They also feel that Christians are cold, bigots, and rule creators. They do not feel that we are lovable, caring, and community minded. In many cases the unchurch only see the church as money suckers and self-promotion as being perfect. I have hear some pastor recognize the value of working with other churches and have repented from what they call “independence sin”. They honestly thought that THEIR church would be the change maker of the culture, and they had no desire to work with other local churches. There is a fear that circles in these church’s mind that tells them if they reach out, they will bring evil in. The way I look at it is if you are not being attacked by the enemy then you are where he needs you to be to do nothing. Why would the devil waste his time on a church or Christian that is not effecting the culture?
The church should be welcoming without compromising. The church should be teaching about sin and the showing love, forgiveness, and compassion. The church should be helping the widows and poor. The church should be allowing the unchurched and unsaved to come to church in hopes they find grace and redemption. The church should be a community that impacts their community by getting involved in the various events, groups, non-profits, and local government. The church should be building disciples from their members that are willing to get off their seats and impact wherever they may be.
I have been waiting now for 4+ years that God would open the door for youth ministry or a full time ministry that allows me to bring my out side the box thinking into their church family not to harm it but to impact it. No door has opened for me… yet! I know He has a place for my wife and I soon enough. I believe it begins with prayer, teaching others how to pray, and seeking God’s Will to change the hearts. Can we be a Christian community without compromising? Yes we can, it can be a place that is welcoming, impacting, and helping people discover the saving Grace of Jesus. As long as the church holds to the Bible, that the enemy does not want it to impact or be open, and begins with prayer as the tool to fight with and awaken the hearts of their people it will be on the right track to becoming a church that is a community impact rather than an independent loner.