The Christian Church Has Abdicated It’s Role As the Center of the Community…BECAUSE!

By Wanda Parker

There are many reasons the church has abdicated it’s role!

One of the greatest reasons is that we have lost our passion for Christ.  We have lost our first love.  We have become more centered on ourselves than on God.  This isn’t true world wide.  Where there is persecution, where life is truly difficult there is much more passion amongst believers than there is in America.

Because life has become all about ME… I don’t have the time, energy, desire, money to be available to meet the needs of others.

Inorder for the church to regain it’s role as the center of the community the individuals that comprise the church must become involved in the needs in their community. 

  • They will need to give more financially to the church
  • They will need to set aside more time to volunteer
  • They will need to be willing to experience the emotional pain of being involved in other’s pain
  • They will need to be willing to give up doing something they want to do because they are spending time with an at-risk kid
  • They will need to be willing to open their homes to strangers
  • The list could be endless but you get the idea.

I truly believe we are capable of doing this if we return to our first love – Jesus Christ.  If we seek Him and allow Him to transform us from within. 

Not only are we capable of again making the Church the center of the community – WE MUST!  If we truly love Jesus Christ –  WE WILL!

What will be your first step to move from your place of comfort? 

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7 responses to “The Christian Church Has Abdicated It’s Role As the Center of the Community…BECAUSE!

  1. really good one and thanks for it.

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  2. Sharing in others’ pain is so difficult – we don’t even want to experience our own pain. We use all kinds of methods and pleasures to dull our pain. That’s a great challenge for us all – to seek God to transform us from within and be willing to “feel the pain.”

  3. Couldn’t agree more Wanda. Unfortunately the “suburan Jesus” we’ve created in the American Church isn’t the Jesus of the Bible. He is a means to an end rather than the end itself. He is a means to wealth and security and it is impossible for us to be the church Christ intended us to be as long as this is the case. My prayer has been that this financial downturn (as uncomfortale as it is) would wake the church once again. There’s a really good book by Francis Chan I just read called “Crazy Love” that addresses some of what you’re talking about.

  4. Hi Wanda, There is much in your posting that I appreciate, especially the title of your blog. We do need to view North America as a place for cross-cultural missions. The time is long gone and past where, metaphorically speaking, the church steeple will rise up in the middle of town beckoning folks to come. Christianity, Christian truths are now but one of many, many value systems, truth systems in the marketplace. If we are to reach North America, we must approach it in the same manner as one going into another culture: learn the language, understand the culture (how we do things ’round here), identify the values, build relationships, do lots and lots of research–formal and informal–to uncover the issues, challenges, entry points for conversations. Oh, did I say build relationships?

    And where does this take place? Out in the culture, out in the gathering places, out in the activities where people gather and create their identities. Sure, there is a percentage of the population with church/Christian memories. Perhaps 10, 15 or 20% of the population will “come” to us, respond to the “Everyone Welcome” sign. But that leaves 80-90% of the population who will likely never darken the door of the church. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come!

    But there are also, I believe, some statements made that just don’t ring true, either biblically or culturally. I’ve pasted your thoughts below and will respond in CAPS

    “One of the greatest reasons is that we have lost our passion for Christ. We have lost our first love. We have become more centered on ourselves than on God….”

    IN THE USA WE’VE LOST OUR PASSION FOR CHRIST BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN MARGINALIZED IN FAVOUR OF POLITICAL ISSUES. WE HAVE SO WED THE CULTURE BATTLE WITH THE SPIRITUAL BATTLE THAT WE’VE LOST SIGHT OF THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM.

    Because life has become all about ME… I don’t have the time, energy, desire, money to be available to meet the needs of others. In order for the church to regain it’s role as the center of the community the individuals that comprise the church must become involved in the needs in their community.

    WHOA. FULL STOP. WHERE DO WE SEE IN SCRIPTURE THAT THE CHURCH IS TO BE THE CENTRE OF THE COMMUNITY. HISTORICALLY, THE CHURCH HAS DONE ITS MOST EFFECTIVE WORK FROM THE MARGINS. WHEN WE ARE THE “CENTRE’ OF THE COMMUNITY, THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN SPIRITUAL TRUTH AND POLITICAL POWER BECOMES HAZY. WE’LL NEVER WIN THE WORLD WITH A GOSPEL THAT COMES CLOTHED IN CIVIC POWER. THE CHURCH NEED NOT BE THE CENTRE OF THE BROADER COMMUNITY. IT DOES NEED TO BE SEEN AS “VALUE-ADDED” TO THE COMMUNITY.

    * They will need to give more financially to the church (TO FUND $7 MILLION BUILDING PROGRAM? TO PAY PASTORS GYNORMOUS SALARIES? TO CREATE PROGRAM AFTER PROGRAM THAT KEEP BELIEVERS SO TIED TO THE CHURCH CALENDAR THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE THE TIME OR ENERGY TO ENGAGE WITH THE COMMUNITY?)
    * They will need to set aside more time to volunteer
    * They will need to be willing to experience the emotional pain of being involved in other’s pain (THEY’VE GOT TO PARTICPATE IN A SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY THAT EVEN ACKNWOELDGES PAIN FIRST)
    * They will need to be willing to give up doing something they want to do because they are spending time with an at-risk kids (INCLUDING, FIRST, THEIR OWN)
    * They will need to be willing to open their homes to strangers (I AGREE WITH THIS, BUT IT DOESN’T REQUIRE POSITIONING THE CHURCH AT THE CENTRE OF THE COMMUNITY; IT REQUIRES SETTING JESUS AT THE CENTRE OF THE CHURCH AND PLACING THE CHURCH AS THE SERVANT TO THE KINGDOM).
    * The list could be endless but you get the idea.

    I truly believe we are capable of doing this if we return to our first love – Jesus Christ. If we seek Him and allow Him to transform us from within.

    “Not only are we capable of again making the Church the center of the community – WE MUST! If we truly love Jesus Christ – WE WILL!”
    THE ISSUE IS NOT THAT THE CHURCH OF GOD HAS A MISSION IN THE WORLD (TO BE AT THE CENTRE OF THE COMMUNITY, WHATEVER THAT MEANS); THE ISSUE IS THAT THE GOD OF MISSION HAS A CHURCH IN THE WORLD.

    What will be your first step to move from your place of comfort? TO QUIT SWEATING THE STATUS OF THE CHURCH AND TO BEGIN BEING JESUS OUT IN THE WORLD TO WHICH HE HAS SENT US.

  5. Rick,

    Thanks for your comments – great thoughts. I actually agree with most of what you said. You seem to have misunderstood what I meant by the church being the center of the community.

    The Church being the center of the community has nothing to do with politics or government – actually just the opposite. It is about making the government less needed because Christians are doing what the Bible has called them to do – caring for the needy.

    It is about Christians loving and walking through life with those who are in crisis.

    The church then becomes the center of the community because people are drawn to “the place” where Chrisitans gather for their own filling up. It is the center of the community because of love, not because of power.

    The care provided by “The Church” is not just throwing money at needs. It is walking through life with each other. That means not looking at those in crisis as “clients” or “projects” but developing true friendships.

    We have not interacted in a long time so you may not be aware of our ministry KidTrek. We train the church to minister to families in crisis.

    If you are interested here are some other postings that may give you more insight

    http://whymissionaries.wordpress.com/2008/04/

    http://whymissionaries.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/americas-invisible-children-what-do-they-need/

    Or take a look at our website http://www.kidtrek.org

    I also fully agree that you must care for your own children first.

    God bless,

    Wanda

  6. Forest,

    Thanks for the comment. I will have to get the book by Francis Chan – he is one of my heros.

    Wanda

  7. Thanks for the clarification. Yes, I did misunderstand, thinking you were suggesting a return to the old Christendom form of church which is no more! I am afraid, however, that the “centre of the community” terminology will be misunderstood and misinterpreted by mainstream evangelicals who are fighting the culture wars rather than focusing on demonstrating and declaring the kingdom. Our approach is captured in the phrase: Adding value to the community in Jesus’ name. Given the fact that there are, in fact, agencies and individuals who–not knowingly–are engaged in Kingdom-type activities, i.e., common-grace-empowered acts of kindness. This suggests, then (as I imagine you do) that we can partner with other community-based agencies who are seeking, whether they know it or not, Kingdom values.

    The “center of the community” has too many power connotations for me to feel comfortable using it in a North American context. So, as I said in my original comment: IT DOESN’T REQUIRE POSITIONING THE CHURCH AT THE CENTRE OF THE COMMUNITY; IT REQUIRES SETTING JESUS AT THE CENTRE OF THE CHURCH AND PLACING THE CHURCH AS THE SERVANT TO THE KINGDOM.

    Let’s keep up the dialogue. I look forward to acquainting myself with your ministry. It may well enable us to minister more effectively. Fall River Chapel is an off-shoot of a brethren church (though no longer Brethren) and a focal point of its ministry in our community for 20+ years has been something called “Kids’ Club” which is focused on ministering to unchurched kids, many of whom come from struggling homes.

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