Starting Points?

You could read this story two ways…

West Ridge Church along with 77 other churches in the Atlanta area are canceling Sunday services the weekend of July 23-25 in order to do community service (something we’ve seen before). It’s called Community Makeover, and it’s an event that creates an opportunity for the church to get outside of their walls and do some good. Much of this idea really puts a smile on my face, but I think a part of it should give us a bit of a kick in the butt.

Its great that churches are seeing ‘church’ as more than songs and sermons, but serving the community once a year?…

I want to both applaud the endeavour – because it is something that I see as a genuinely good thing and yet I feel conflicted because an annual event somewhat misses the point, if the rest of the year its simply business as usual.

So while I cheer for the initiative I also lament the fact that we see things as we do…

The comments on the original post reflect similar sentiments. I guess my pondering is around how we make acts of community service more natural and how we dissasemble such a rigid imagination of church and allow it to grow into something more dynamic and fluid.

4 thoughts on “Starting Points?

  1. I agree Hamo. If you think of service in terms of spiritual disciplines then you can see a parallel in the formalization of a particular practice (say fasting) to serve as preparation of broader disciplined life. To voluntarily abstain prepares us to gracefully accept lack.

    If we structure serving opportunities correctly perhaps we will awaken people to needs/others in the community and ignite a passion for continued, organic involvement (as opposed to service).

    But if serving opportunities serve as an obligation, duty, or tradition that is fulfilled to round out the picture of “who we are”, then it is self-serving at best and the object of our service is reduced to a tool for our own edification.

  2. I agree it’s a great idea, but I don’t get why ‘service’ as in ministry has to replace ‘service’ as in worship. The early church met together regularly for worship and fellowship AND they ministered. The latter didn’t replace the former.

  3. Or… maybe service is worship?

    Perhaps the question I would pose is why worship is seen as the typical gathering and ‘ministry’ as acts of service?

    I don’t want to draw hard lines on these things, but I do think our perceptions are heavily skewed by our past experience so its hard to imagine the ‘community service’ idea described above as a regular expression of worship, when I actually think it would fit just fine

  4. “how we make [these] acts … more natural and … dynamic and fluid”

    I reckon by introducing small changes, then building on them. They got 77 churches to join in, that is absolutely awesome! And a rather biblical number (:

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