A couple weeks ago in church my pastor was talking about this very topic. Our church is in a very small community that is becoming a bit run down. It has the potential to become a beautiful place, but a lot of the people who live there don't necessarily have the money to change things. Pastor Jared challenged us to think of ways that our church could make a difference in the community. He challenged us to look at evangelism as not just inviting people to come to church, but to bring the church to them. I believe having a servant mentality and love for the people are two great ways for the church to better reflect Christ.
First off the church needs to develop a servant mentality. In the presentation, “Christianity and Culture” Professor Towns talked about how just as Jesus was sent into the world we are also sent into the world to serve. Matthew 23:11 (MSG) says, “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant.” I use to think of a servant as someone who has to do everything their master commands, and they are dirty and looked down upon. But, now that I've really thought about it I see a servant as someone who is obedient, not afraid to get dirty, and humble. The church needs to be obedient to what God tells them to do, and he has already called us out into the world. The church also needs to be willing to get down and dirty and do some work. All of this should be done in a humble manner not to draw attention to themselves, but to draw people to the Lord. As I mentioned, the community my church is in could use some work so I’ve been thinking of things the church could do to improve things. Professor Towns mentioned a few things in his video such as starting a free clinic, music and acting classes, and working with Habitat for Humanity. My church could easily start some music classes and art classes for local children. We could also just start cleaning up the town. There have been some houses burn down, and the remains need to be cleaned up. Another need the community has is for a fire truck and a few volunteer firefighters. This of course is a large need, but it is something the church could make happen in the future. These are just a few examples of things the church could do in order to help the community.
Along with all of this work needs to be love for the people. It’s important to remember that the church is not the building you meet in it’s the people (Etzel & Gutierrez, 2012). So the church should be just a bunch of people who love other people. Everything that the church does to serve the community should be done out of love for the people. Everything Jesus did on earth was because he loves his people with an unconditional love, and that should be said of the church as well. I think one major problem with some churches today is that they just try to get people into their building rather that really loving them and getting down on their level. I think the purpose of being a servant is to do life with the people of the community, to help them with whatever they need, and to love them unconditionally. Doing this will help to form a relationship with the community that goes beyond the walls of the church into the very hearts of the people. The more the church does to help out the community the more people will be drawn to the Lord.
I know there are many other things the church can do to reflect Christ, but I think these two things will a good place to start. If the church can grasp the concept of loving the people unconditionally they will in turn become servants. When you love people with a Christ-like love it moves you to help them and have compassion on people. When the church starts loving and serving the community will be changed, and when the community is changed the kingdom of God will grow, and the people will go out into other communities and do the same. It will be a ripple effect that can change the world.
Etzel, G. and Gutierrez, G. (2013). Praxis: beyond theory. Virginia Beach, VA: Academx Publishing Services.