Connecting With Community

I have been trying to think of ways to connect better with my local community. This includes the school up the road where the kids attend. I have dreamed up a few ideas to both connect (for my sake and fulfilment of my own passion and mission) But also for their sake, wanting to serve them in ways that are actually beinificial to them and maybe actually produce a better place to live and be in community as neighbours.
Problem is that I tend to just have the ideas and…that’s it.
Some of the problem is time but I would say the major issue is my butt…it seems to be stuck in one place, too scared about stepping out and taking a risk. If I initiate something, will everyone just think I am some do gooder try hard etc. I mean Hamo has started his BBQ thing and had begun to connect with people up there….hm

So what happens? My 9 year old daughter decides that she wants to play netball, that she wants to play locally and that she wants to play with kids in her class. She acts on this, with Christine’s help. Mik gets the team together at school, gets her list of names, we register a team and boom – last Monday night was game number 1.
I stood there with 2 other dads from the class who I know to say ‘hi’ to and chat with, but we stood and talked and talked, in fact we were guilty of a lack of cheering for the team. But as I stood there engaging in some of the best conversations I had had with these guys I thought to myself…”My daughter is more effective at this tranformational community stuff/mission stuff than I am”
Maybe we need to get less hung up about theory, and ‘mission’ and just go out, be friends, play tennis, netball, have beer and be yourself.
Thanks Mikaela!

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3 thoughts on “Connecting With Community

  1. I remember a few years ago having this exact same discussion with a friend of mine.

    We talk about wanting to reach out into the community but really we want to have our own ‘christian’ communities and then invite people to join us, where it’s safe, where we are the majority. Isn’t this why we have our own play groups, craft groups, mother’s groups, sporting teams, drama groups, dance groups etc all run by the church?

    Why do we have to segregate ourselves so much? If we joined in with community activities that are already running we

    1. would have an instanat connection with the people that are already there because there’s already a common interest, it doesn’t have to be forced like with your neighbours or people you work with. (I’m not saying you shouldn’t try and connect with your neighbours but the only thing you possibly have in common with them is the proximity of you houses.)

    2. we would be using community buildings, therefore lessening the need for bigger church buildings therefore able to channel finances into other areas.

    3. we wouldn’t be seen so much as an exclusive club that you have to be a member of and we would be, in my opinion, fulfilling the great commission of going OUT into the world.

    Imagine if every young person had just 1 activity that they did that was not part of the church??? Their week wasn’t full of mon night meetings, tues night music practice, wed night small group, friday night youth, sun morning/night church….. perhaps they were part of the local drama club putting on a performace? Or went to salsa classes in northbridge? How would that affect our community??

  2. How would that affect our community?? Joining the dance club, netball team etc is a great start and is to be commended. Being incarnational begins with getting outside our church walls and integrating with our community.

    I believe the big challenge then is to be salt and light in this context. I have been involved in a local tabletennis club now for over 18 months and am fairly open about my faith. I have had a couple “semi-spiritual” conversations but that seems to be the extent of my impact on this club. Maybe Vawz has the better idea of being a spectator rather than a “player”.

    I am keen to learn from those who are not only integrating with the community but experiencing the transformational work of Christ in the midst of this community. On page 43 of “The Shaping of Things to Come – Frost/Hirsch” the authors use an example of a group of model car racers. Rather than “invite them to church” it is suggested that one could buy a model car and join the club. “If a few car racers came into relationship with Christ, they should not be encouraged to leave the club and join the church. Rather, a home church could be established, and the brand-new Christian car enthusiasts could worship God in the context of their tribal identity.”

    Now this sounds awesome and I am all for this incarnational approach to mission but am also keen to learn from some real life examples which explain the way the dots were connected between joining the club and starting the home church.

    My intention is not to be negative but to be inspired by some of those real life stories where the dots have been connected.

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