As a bishop, most times when I visit with a congregation, we quickly start to talk about the challenges the congregation is facing. Those challenges start with not having enough money to do the things we want to do. Many of the challenges being managed have to do with the building in which the community gathers. Some of the concerns are about the lack of people, or the lack of a certain group of people (usually children). Sometimes we talk about the music program.
You see a pattern?
We spend a lot of time focused on maintaining the community in which have found acceptance, love and support. It’s a place where we’ve found meaning. And it’s becoming something we long to maintain – even come close to worshiping rather than the God who gathered us into the community.
But it’s rare that people begin by telling me the concerns of the community in which they live. It’s rare that we even get to discussing that at all.
But that’s what God’s mission has a church for – to address the needs of the community in which they find themselves. We have something to offer to them. But we are going to have to meet them where they are, not invite them into where we are.
If we can get that right… well, that would really be something.