Being in ministry for over twenty three years some might think they kind of have the answers to how “church” is accomplished. To me it is rather exciting to be reminded that we have not arrived. We don’t have all the answers. Our world is changing around us and the question is not how are we going to stay the same but how are we going to respond. Just coming back from a conference in Toledo where pastor Steve Viars from Faith Church in Lafayette, IN was a main speaker. They have been doing something amazing in their community where they did not make programs and then try to find ways to invite their community to what the church might think was what the community needed… They had a unique approach and actually asked the community what they thought was needed and then tried to meet the real or perceived needs, as God gave them the ability.
You know, I am struck about how we think we know the needs of our community and if the people around us would just submit to us because we know what their needs are and involve themselves in our programs to meet their perceived needs, we are doing God’s work. What if we have it backwards? What if what are saying and the programs we have in place are old and outdated? What if we have isolated ourselves from our communities and we don’t even know it? What if we are trying to meet needs no one knows exist? Wouldn’t that be such an enormous waste of our time?
Help me with your thoughts now. How would an established ministry (church) go about finding the perceived needs and the real needs of the community – from the community itself? Please share your thoughts… because I’m wondering if we have been doing it backwards all along.