Whilst away over Christmas I had an interesting chat about how we as the church, react to our community (of which we are completely a part of). I totally believe we are called to be change agents in the community and to help where help is needed; I’m sure I’m not the only one who sits there.
But so often, especially in the Youth world, we attach a ‘condition’ to the help we offer (maybe the word condition is unfair) – “Please enjoy this thing that we have done for you, oh and by the way we have a service on INSERT DATE that we would like you to come to.”
Now, I’m a big believer in people in inviting people to events, services and the like; it’s just that I’m realising more and more that this needs to be a lifestyle not an add on to serving the community within a mission week. I think it just feels way more authentic this way.
After a interesting chat with someone yesterday this notion of how we interact with our communities grabbed me again and I realised that we need to learn how to run no event.
What if our youth communities realised that we actually want to serve them? That we actually cared about education, drugs, bullying and the issues that affect them. Unfortunately as the church we are viewed as people with hidden agendas when we try to help with these issues and I can understand that.
Don’t get me wrong – I would love every teenager in my town to come to know Jesus and I think we need to be up front about that but we also need to tell people that we will love them all the same even if that is not what they choose to do.
To serve the community with no invite, no track, no card or logo smells like Jesus and I fully believe that people in the community will be way more interested in Jesus and what He stands for when they see the love that they have heard about being shown to them with no thought of return.
But means they probably wont turn up to the church then, doesn’t it?
Probably, in fact maybe even definitely in the short term anyway. The truth of the matter is; that’s OK. Jesus will build His Church and the Youth ministry and the Kids ministry or whatever ministry you have.
I am way more interested in seeing the community around me change for the better than I am about seeing the amount of young people I work with explode or my church become ‘MEGA’ – I don’t even really mind if they decide that another church or organisation is where they meet best with Jesus!
And do you know what? I reckon the opposite will happen anyway. I think when we serve our community with love, compassion, gentleness and all that good stuff we’ll need to build extensions on our churches and buy more chairs because people will want to get into the house that Jesus built
Here’s a sample advert you could use;