I was speaking with a close friend and colleague the other day about his recent trip to a small town in Kenya, where he and a group of people had an opportunity to engage with a small community of native Kenyans and embrace them in Christian love. He spoke fervidly about the local pastor of the area, who was determined to be an active part of his parishioner’s lives, not only spiritually, but took an active role in the local government, and was a leader in his church’s community. This passion for his church made a large impact in the village, and was a key component to the strong sense of community that was undeniably felt by Jon and his group.
Listening to him tell the stories of how Christ moved through not only the village but through the lives of his fellow missionaries filled my heart with wonder and amazement. How did this small church millions of miles away get it? What are we as a Church missing that they didn’t? How do we take the Kenyan model and put it into place within our own congregations?
There’s something we need to understand. At the end of the day, having thousands of people with lukewarm faith will mean nothing compared to the handful of people that dedicate themselves to actively seeking to create community among those they interact with. This concept isn’t new, it’s just something we find ourselves increasingly distancing ourselves from.
So here’s what we do, Church.
Live a life that actively involves the bystanders, Jesus did.
Stop concerning yourselves with the things you cannot change. Just trust that what needs to happen will, because it will.
Love unrelentingly. Even when it’s hard, because it will be, but anything that’s worth something isn’t worth it because it’s easy.
These things are easy to say, but how many of us fail at these principles on a daily basis? I KNOW I do.
Be the example in your churches, it only takes a handful of faithful people to start a movement. In our church, we’ve taken the initiative by launching a quarterly campaign to share the lives of our church staff with our congregation, while encouraging the congregation to share more about each other with the people they interact with. It’s received an overwhelming response and our parishioners are excited about learning about more than the side we show on Sunday.
Foster community, Church.