“Now I’m not naive. I realize the church in America is far from perfect and in many ways has gone astray, but the church is still the bride of Christ. She may have holes in her dress, stains on her shoes, and smeared makeup on her face, but at the end of the day, she is still the bride. When we recognize that God’s perspective of the church is not necessarily our own, then we will begin treating her with the respect and care she deserves. We will begin building her up to what she is meant to be instead of tearing her down.”
I’m the first to admit that I haven’t always been kind to the Church.
“It’s too dogmatic.”
“It’s out of touch with culture.”
“It’s out of touch with the Gospel.”
All that may be true, but lately I’ve been thinking: What if, instead of constantly complaining about the Church, I actually try to help build it?
Boy, ain’t that the million dollar question! I’m no expert in ministry or missional living, but I do believe the local church should be aware of it’s community, and how it can provide for the community. For example, I like how Mars Hill Church reaches out to Seattle’s artsy bohemian crowd. They have local artists "tithe their talents" and help design their websites and published materials. Then there's The Simple Way in Philadelphia, which is actually more of a community than a church, but they do an amazing job practicing hospitality to the poor and homeless. These are just examples, of course, because each community has different needs.
I recently emailed my pastor and asked if we could get together some time and talk about different ways we can provide for our community. We haven't scheduled a meeting time yet, but he's definitely interested. So hopefully soon we can talk about what we see in the community, and what our church can do about it.
How does your church reach out to your community?