It’s been an eye-opening month as we have decided to intentionally jump into every networking opportunity that we could find in hopes to figure out how to best partner with our community as we go ahead with our vision. We’ve been to Women in Networking meetings, the Christian Chamber of Commerce, the Non-profit Networking Conference, and Neighborhood Association meetings all within a couple of weeks. One common denominator: we are the only pastors at anything (except for one pastor’s wife who had a jewelry business at the Christian Chamber of Commerce meeting).
Trust me when I say this…we don’t deserve a pat on the back. We haven’t been at many of these type of meetings in 15 years of ministry. We don’t deserve any credit at all for showing up now, but I will say that my perspective has been shifted. What if just a small fraction of pastors shuffled around and showed up to EVERYTHING? What if it was just a common thing for churches to be a functioning part of the workings in our community? This sounds like a no-brainer, but maybe it’s a case where the simple things are the things we don’t do.
I don’t even begin to think that Mark and I can maintain the pace we’ve been going to attend as many things as we have, but we are very convinced to pick a few where we feel we can use our time the best and benefit our particular area (like the Hazel Dell Neighborhood Association). I believe that if every pastor in our city just picked a few community meetings, we’d be well on our way to redefining the purpose of church in our city.
I think maybe we as Christians have bought into the idea of the separation between church and state. We might actually believe that people would like Christians just to stay in their little churches and behave. Here’s a shocker: We’ve been graciously welcomed at every meeting with open arms and excitement. People want their organizations supported and a good supporter is someone with a direct line to God, don’t you think? Whether they agree or disagree with our spiritual beliefs, they are still glad that we are there to listen and help.
I’m picking on pastors first, but I think it really goes for all Christians. What area of our community are you involved in as a representative of Jesus and the Church? Not just as a good citizen, but a proclaimed Christian that wants to help? If you’re not neck deep in something, dive in. You’ll be just as surprised as I am about how warm the water is…