The question I have heard the most in my 30-plus years of ministry has been how can we (meaning the Church) reach more young people. The second most common question is a statement. However, this statement begs the question to be asked. The statement is we are a small congregation. The question I hear in this statement is, “how do we fill our pews again?” And behind that question is, not always but many times, “how will we survive/thrive again?”
It’s been said, the context of the modern Church has come full circle to mirror the context of the first-century Church. So maybe we should be asking the question, how did the Christian movement of the first-century Church grow to be a force that the Roman empire came to stand up and take notice of? In other words, are there practices that we of the contemporary Church can learn from and implement in our current context?
What the first-century Church learned how to do based on conviction and the belief in their message, the contemporary Church needs to relearn. What stood out in the first-century Church was the transformational power they were able to harness, which led to personal and societal change.
This edition’s quote by Albert Einstein says, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” This quote addresses the questions I spoke of earlier in this article. Meaning we must look outside ourselves to find the solution we seek. I am concluding that the new thinking for the Church may be able to be found in the model used in Community Organizing.
What I believe would happen if the Church began to take the principles and practices of the organizer seriously are too numerous to mention here. So instead, allow me to offer you the work of organizing that I believe would benefit the Church, the Churches’ Community, and subsequent ripples into the world for the cause of Christ.
- Learning how to focus on the person and not the program – Taking time to have individual meetings. Learning about them and their passion.
- Conducting Relational Analysis – The ability to understand which leaders have followings and influence and how they relate to one another.
- Teaching and Training – How to initiate and create meaningful public relationships with existing and potential congregational members.
- Acting and Evaluating – Learning how to act in unison, the church learning to become more than the sum of its parts.
With these basic skills, I think the Church can learn how to think differently and thereby be different in the world while advancing the Kindom to all.
If you are interested in learning more about community-based organizing for your Church, don’t hesitate to contact the ABCCONN office. I would love to have further conversations with you and connect you with leaders in ABCCONN who are already using this new thinking in their congregations to initiate Transformation.