Can the church come out and play?

A friend was just telling me of a church experience that embodied the first half of this exchange. He was visiting a church that was making a pitch for members to get involved...and everything mentioned was inside the box: committees, programs, worship. Not even a nod of the head to getting out in the community, trying to connect with or serve people outside the box. It reminds me of a former colleague's description of the Lutheran approach to evangelism, hoping that somehow fish will jump into our boat so we never have to deploy a net.

I am concerned by the number of people I meet who seem to either be daring the church to come meet them on their terms, or can't cross the street because of some old hurt, or (most frightening) don't even notice that there is a church as they walk down the street. These gulfs can't be overcome by appeals to community or belonging (there are no shortage of places to belong at some level) or by invitations to join in work that the invitees don't really see as relevant.

Only listening and sharing in the concerns of the community -- coming out of the box to play on the same playing field -- can start the process of connecting.

(ASBOJesus via Jonny Baker)


somecomic said...


Songbird said...

That's a great cartoon (I shared it with quite a few people yesterday), and I appreciate your reflections on it. I believe there are people in the church I'm serving that "get" this, and now will try to communicate it to the wider congregation as the Search Committee speaks in worship on Sunday. Thank you again for the material you shared that helped me educate them!

Bob said...

Songbird - Sounds like you are making progress. It's a long cultural commute, that's for sure, but worth the trip!