Let me ask you a question. If your church suddenly disappeared tomorrow, how would it affect, or not affect your community?
That’s one of the questions I ask when I do church consulting. I’ve traveled extensively working with church communities to help them become healthier and more effective at reaching their community. Often that question is like a gut punch to the church leadership. They realize that while the community might notice the building is gone it would not affect their lives.
I am passionate about the local church and about that local church impacting its community. That impact can, and should, look different from church to church. I believe every church community has unique footprints and heartbeats that God has given them to serve their community. It may be a mechanics ministry providing free or greatly discounted car mechanics for those in need. It may be stocking and providing a food bank. It may be serving families by providing quality programs and outreaches.
Finding those unique footprints takes work. Far too often, we find ourselves doing what has always been done without really considering why we’re doing it and if it’s effective. Many years ago, I was consulting with a church in in the pacific northwest. They began asking a lot of “why” questions about the ministries they had. They did a yearly summer VBS, but when they asked “why?” they couldn’t answer. They looked around and realized they were just one of the many churches in town doing a VBS every summer. They stopped and began to ask, “how can we uniquely serve our community?” It did not take them long for them to think about spring break. Spring break in their blue-collar town was not a time where everyone went on vacation, it was “business as usual.” Most kids were home alone for the week while parents continued to work and provide for their families. They made the decision to change from a summer VBS to a spring break VBS. It was a huge success. It served their community tangibly and effectively.
May I encourage you to take some time to ask the “why” question? Look around at your community and your church body and see what new doors might be opening to you.
~ Melissa MacDonald