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In my last post, Building Your Church Community Starts With You, I encouraged you to consider your participation in the building of our church community. If you need some insight into understanding why I think building our church community is important, please take a look at that post. (Or better yet, comment below and let’s have a conversation!)
I believe that in order for our church community to grow we must venture through the following steps:
1. The desire of the church body to see their community grow.
2. Individuals seeing that they are part of something that’s worth growing.
3. The realization of individuals that they actually have the power to build and grow their church community.
4. Each individual taking responsibility of their realization and actually doing something about it.
But wait…isn’t the church built by Jesus? Yes, the church as a whole is built by Jesus. But, I also believe that he invites us to actively participate in building the church by what Jesus calls “making disciples” or, “building the kingdom.” Christianity is not passive; it’s not merely a frame of mind. It’s active. It’s living. It’s breathing. It’s people.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the church is not built by church staff. The church is built from the inside out; from the participation and willingness of its members to see it grow. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging you to stand on the street corner and shout the gospel at people as they walk by. I don’t think that’s a very effective strategy and will most likely just be a waste of your time. Not to mention, shoving the gospel in a person’s face probably does more harm than good. Ultimately, I think, the church is built by relationships.
Now…let’s get practical.
If it’s true that the church is primarily built through relationships, then the first step is to actually engage in relationships with the people around us. Connect with your community and build relationships. Really get to know the people you encounter and interact with on a weekly, or even daily, basis. Or, here’s a crazy idea for us living in the Northeast, engage with people you don’t even know.
Here’s the reality, there are real people, with real lives, real struggles, and real brokenness that surround us in our communities. In fact, most of them live within 100 feet of our own homes. We call them "neighbors." How many of us regularly attempt to connect with our neighbors? Or what about our co-workers? Often, we work so much that we spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our own families. Do we have conversations with them that extend beyond business? These are real people with real lives.
Again, I’m not saying to knock on your neighbors door, hand them a tract, and tell them to repent of their sins. Simply, establish a friendship with them. Show them that you care. These people need community, love, trust, friendship. They need Jesus. They need someone to show them they care that they exist. We say it all the time in American Christianity, “the gospel isn’t preached through our words, it’s preached through our actions.” Well, here is our opportunity to do just that.
We need to stop isolating ourselves from “the world” and start engaging with “them.” We have a kingdom to build. A vision, proposed by Jesus himself, of a better world “on earth as it is in heaven” to construct. And, I propose we start with those closest in proximity to us (our community) by simply establishing a relationship with them.
What are your thoughts on this? Comment below!