This weekend I went to a “Singles” conference in Orlando, Florida called FUSION. It was put on by RightNow.org and Calvary Christian Assembly. We had the privelage of having The David Crowder Band lead worship and mini-concert, while hundreds of people found their calling into various ministries. The event is designed to FUSE your faith in God with your Gift from God to help others. Several pastors came to speak at the event and some authors came.
Upon looking for more information on some of the speakers, I stumbled on a list of the most “emerging churches in my area” made by Relevant Magazine. I just returned from spending at least an hour or so reading info and checking out those various churches. Some are very promising in terms of getting back to what I like to call the “Reach Factor”. They are really working to touch the community. This is something that Justin and I have felt very strong about from the beginning of the idea of LIFE ALIVE CHURCH. However we didn’t get that idea from reading, we just saw a need and felt that as Christ- Followers we should meet it, and train others to meet it. This weekend we are going to be putting that idea into practice. We will be working with FBC of Leesburg, Florida to help with the recovery process of the tornados. We are expecting to grow alot from this experience. So having thought all this and read all that, I leave you with a quote from a article I was reading about churches touching the community. This particular one is from a church in my town of Jacksonville, Florida. So read the quote and ask yourself…“what about the church you are apart of?”
“In 1988 Vaughn and Narlene McLaughlin moved into a depressed area of Jacksonville to begin a church designed to meet the needs of the whole person. Today their converted Bell South building called the “Multiplex” houses nearly 20 for-profit businesses including the Potter’s House Café, a credit union, a beauty salon, a graphic design studio and a Greyhound Bus terminal, all started by church members who lacked capital but had a dream. Another building serves as an incubator for two dozen new businesses. The multiplex also houses a 500-student Christian Academy. In addition to their ministries of economic empowerment and education, they also have nearly 25 other ministries such as a prison and jail ministry, youth ministry, Big and Little Brothers, and free car repair. They also have a team of 250 volunteers who “look after things in the city” even if it means to simply sweep the streets of Jacksonville. Though an outstanding preacher, to Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin, ministry is always what happens outside the church-“If you are not making an impact outside of your four walls, then you are not making an impact at all.” In 1999 Bishop McLaughlin was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Florida State University. Is it any mystery why the city and its leaders have so wholeheartedly embraced Potter’s House? The question he repeatedly asks is the question that churches in all kinds of neighborhoods are increasingly asking themselves: “Would the community weep if your church were to pull out of the city? Would anybody notice if you left? Would anybody care?”
The question, “How big is your church?” should be replaced with “How big is the impact you are having on your community?” Every other measure is interesting but not relevant. Let’s refuse to be impressed by numbers alone. There are many ways to engage the community and make an impact. The only “bad” way to engage the community in service is not to engage at all!”