Thursday, February 28, 2008
"I only care what is happening in my neighborhood."
Someone told me that on the other side of the bridge yesterday. Our neighborhood years ago was cut in two by a highway. Now there are these two pedestrian bridges that connect us but in reality we live and think about ourselves as two more than one. I have made a concentrated effort in my times of prayer to walk the streets of both. The challenge of being missionally located in a specific neighborhood as a ministry is the tendency to become narrow in your reach and in your heart. It's a two sided bridge...on one hand we really can only care for a limited amount of space...our side of the bridge.
I mean real practical care...not the care that comes from a pulpit...it doesn't matter too much where people live for that ministry, nor should it....people traveled for miles and miles to come hear Jesus preach and participate in the ministry that sprung up around Jesus.
But if you are going to try to dramatically influence, care for, serve and love an area outside your church building walls...too big an area means you don't practically accomplish much as the collective & gathered body of Christ. I am not talking about individual life ministry that takes place wherever the believer is. I am focusing on the power of a united and mission determined church. But we must face the truth that churches tend to be bigger in their thinking about themselves than they are in actual impact locally. We indulge in a lot of fantasy life when it comes to how much we are really loving our communities.
The other side of the bridge issue is that if you get too local...you start only caring about your side of the bridge. God's call is bigger than your block, your street, your neighborhood, your community, your city...your nation.
Understanding that means we are going to have to cross over our bridges.