What fruit is our church producing in this community?
I think there’s a lot of hidden fruit that we’re not actually aware of!
We may be tempted to think that because our church doesn’t have an official ‘social welfare’ outreach, we are therefore not doing much ‘for the community’. But, perhaps we should think of it a little differently?
I submit to you that we should think of our church as a ‘salt shaker’, and each person among us as a grain of salt – children included, please (especially). So, every week we gather together on a Sunday to get salty, and afterwards, each grain of salt goes out to flavour, clean, and preserve various parts of our community in the realms of family, school, work, and ‘other’ (‘third places’ of involvement and service).
I reckon that’s a powerful metaphor which helps us realise that we are actually a force for good in our community. It’s not a case of, ‘the church does nothing for this community.’ Our church supplies this community with 80-120 people, including adults and kids, who are a force for good in each of their individual spheres! That’s quite a gift to the community I think! We may not be a ‘social welfare’ group, but we do supply this community with heaps of trustworthy, dedicated, helpful people who are out there ‘washing the feet’ of the community, while spreading the love of Jesus because of the very name their bear (‘Christian’).
I think that’s what it means to be missional.
In other words, many of us, including kids, volunteer outside the church and give back to the community in a variety of helpful and meaningful ways. Sometimes this means we might miss church on a Sunday because we’re out (or have been out) ‘washing the feet’ of the community. That’s okay. Sometimes it means that we can’t volunteer for something at church, because our time is maxed out ‘doing missions work’ in our community. That’s okay too. The mission is to be preserving, healing, and flavouring the world with the love of Jesus!
One example I’d like to offer (he’s given me permission) is Damo. Damo has started “The Fathering Project” at a local Primary school. To see what this is, go to: thefatheringproject.org. In a nutshell, parents and kids at Rapids Landing School are ‘having their feet washed’ by one of the members of our church, and therefore, our church is vicariously, serving that community through Damo.
I’m sure that if I asked every person reading this to respond by sharing what they’re doing, we would be really surprised to see what fruit our church is producing in this community through the individual efforts of each member. And then, imagine how we could maximise that impact if we were all aware of what we’re each doing and we started teaming up? Goodness, it would be a salty revolution.
Am I advocating that you all stop coming to church and stop volunteering at church? Heavens no! You need to come to church to get salty. And you need to volunteer at church for church to function. But, I am advocating that we see things from a different perspective – the perspective of being missional and having a healthy balance (over time) between being inside the salt-shaker and being outside ‘on the food’, ‘covering the wounds’, and ‘preserving things from rotting’.
So, what I think we need to start doing is asking one another, “Where are you flavouring, cleaning, and preserving in the name of Christ in Margaret River (and beyond)?” and then maybe, consider joining one another in the various initiatives and efforts (especially if we haven’t found our own niche yet). This way, we would be joining God where God is already at work in the community as opposed to trying to start something and trying to get God to join us.
Please, think about these things for a while! I feel the sense that this image might possibly be a ‘vision image’ for us: The Salt Shaker; Salt; Healing, Preserving, Flavouring. It certainly makes my mouth water. Plus it fits in with Margaret River’s location (being by the sea). What do you reckon? For the next 3 years we operate under this image/metaphor and mindset? I am not being prescriptive (yet) – just putting it out their to heal, preserve, and flavour your thinking! 🙂
So friends, let’s get salty in the shaker, and then get out there and flavour, preserve, and heal the world! Plus, it’s biblical – “You are the salt of the earth” says Jesus in Matthew 5:13.
Blessings, Pastor Craig.
Above image: unplash.com, Tatiana Moreeva