I dare you to move…

23 Mar

This is part two of my several part blog about the direction that our church is going.  Today’s post concerns what we believe to be the answer to the problem that was presented yesterday.  Again I really want to know what people think about all of this, so comment away.

A “paradigm” is defined as, “a typical example or pattern of something; a model; a worldview underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject.”

Therefore, what is being proposed is a change in the way that the church thinks about reaching people day in and day out.  It’s not about a building or a plan.  It’s about a people who are called out in order to be sent back into the community from which they were called out in order to shine the glory of God to others.  We want to engage the people of the community and bless the community by providing a business that will enhance the community.  We, as the church, should be concerned with trying to bring restoration to the community in which we live.  In his book, The Next Christians, Gabe Lyons writes, “The first things for the Christian is to recover the Gospel – to relearn and fall in love again with that historic, beautiful, redemptive, faithful, demanding, reconciling, all-powerful, restorative, atoning, grace-abounding, soul-quenching, spiritually fulfilling good news of God’s love.”

We have to rediscover our love for the Gospel and everything that it entails for the believer.  Lyons goes on to say,

Early followers of Jesus showed up and exemplified what restoration living looked like.  They befriended people who were different from them and served those in need.  And somehow along the way, evangelism took place…this is predominantly how [we] are seeing the church spread in the West. [We] show up with a restoration view, create solutions to the problems the communities face, and gently respond when spiritual conversations arise among friends.

 

Our paradigm shift must come in the form of a realization that the church cannot sit in its buildings and wait for the people to come to it.  It is time for Christians to become intimately involved in the community in which they live.  Christians must restore peace to the community around them.   This is what we were called to do.

This is where the new direction for the church comes into play.  We want the church to go in the direction of running a business that will add value to the surrounding community.  We are trying to reverse what is already being done, but in a different way. We are talking about a nuance difference. Instead of a church space that the community uses, we are talking about a community space that the church uses.  It is about the members of the church being woven into the fabric of society in a way that they are able to have influence and restore peace to that community.  The fact is, for a long time in the church, the commonly held perception for many people has been that the church staff is responsible for ministry in the community.  However, ministry and mission does not just happen on church staff.  Ministry and mission is every Christian’s vocation and calling.  In his book, Surprised By Worship, Travis Cottrell writes, “How many times do our confining perceptions of corporate worship hold us back from truly communing with God?”

We have to break out of the same confining mold that the church has lived in for the past 100 years, and we have to begin to think differently as we approach ministry.  Cottrell continues by saying, “Not everyone is going to worship like I do — nor should they.”

The way we are talking about doing things is different, and that is totally okay.  We have to come to the point where we are okay with being different from other people and approach ministry differently in order to reach people that are not currently being reached.  This is why the church is poised to enter the small business realm as the vehicle by which we restore the community.  We believe that this will be a successful avenue to travel because 1) there is a biblical warrant for it and 2) our economy works off of small businesses, and approximately 80 percent of the population is employed by small businesses.

 

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3 Responses to “I dare you to move…”

  1. Amanda March 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    So how exactly does a church-run business LOOK? There is so much talk about it, without any clear definition or expression of why that would reach people more than “traditional” church. I don’t necessarily disagree, I am mostly playing devil’s advocate here. Having a big impact on the community via a clothing closet, food bank, transitionary housing… all things that are helpful but that can be done within the confines of a traditional church. Having another type of business – just some typical business, from coffee shop to Kangazoom type thing – run by a church opens up the exact same scenario as a church does to the public: people can go, have an experience they either like or don’t, and choose to blame the people (“christians”) for their experience or not.

  2. Jason March 26, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Well Amanda there are lots of people who would never enter a building simply because it says church on the outside. These are the people that we want to begin reaching with the gospel. While all of those ministries you mentioned are great, you have to admit that within the confines of a traditional church there is still only a certain segment of the community that you will reach. However, when you begin to do those ministries from a different platform you can reach a different segment. Continue to read the rest of this series so that you can begin to wrap you thoughts around the direction we are going. Thanks for some feedback by the way.

  3. Amanda March 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    My thoughts are well wrapped 😉 I’m asking for clarity in terms of defining how such a business or ministry would look. I probably didn’t lay that out clearly. Nor do I disagree that using alternate platforms for ministries such as a food bank or clothing closet might be a good avenue for reaching a broader audience. Often the lost in need are not willing to trade pride for a bagful of groceries and would rather go hungry than have to ask for help from a church they despise.

    So let me re-attempt, and give a specific question(s):

    If you have a business owned by a church (let’s use a coffee shop as an example), how does this business reach others? Do all employees have to be saved? All management? Are you going to enforce Christian attitudes and behaviors by all employees to the benefit of making an impression on customers? Is there going to be salvation-related paraphernalia around that it is hoped customers pick up and read?

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