If you’ve been in church circles for longer than 5 minutes then you’ve heard someone say something to the effect of “The Local Church is where the action happens!”
The challenge with this is that the ‘church,’ when understood as a people means that for the action to happen at the local church it requires the local people to step up.
Josh & Jesse asked to interview me with my thoughts on how you can invest in your local church for Episode 80 of the podcast. You can listen to that on iTunes, Spotify or Sticher - but for those of you who like to read, here are my 4 takehome points for you.
If you want to really invest in your local church then you need to make your local church your church! I know, I know, the local church has its challenges, but if you’re not attending the local church are you really living like the local church is where the action happens or are you living as though a local church is where the action happens? It might seem like semantics, but the closer you are (physically) to the local church the more time and energy you can invest in its activities.
Be in the Community
You see when you make the closest local church your local church (rather than the one 40 minutes across town), then you have the ability to really connect with any community contacts that might begin to attend your church. You now go to the same supermarket, coffee shop, cinema, running tracks, gym…you name it!
One of the first things people do when they move to a new place is to find ways to get involved/engaged in the local community. The look for a nearby gym, supermarket, coffee shop and church. What message are we sending when no one from that local church is actually local?
Another challenging thought is how can you also contribute to the local community. Again, your proximity to the community will dictate the amount of time you can commit to the local community. Why not, as a local church leader, join a sporting club, interest group or another non-Church specific group in your local community? It could end up being a way for you to make some new friends (at the very least) or even be an avenue for you to share your faith and help someone make the best decision of their life!
Take Church Seriously
This one is challenging. It requires your efforts, money, time and overall generosity. Is church just a place you go, a thing you do or is it an integrated part of who you are?
The more involved you allow yourself to be (by being in the LOCAL CHURCH) the more you find a love for the church, the more you want to be involved and the more seriously you begin to take church too. It may seem onerous, but if you really want to understand some ways to begin taking church seriously then check out Episodes 78 & 79 of the podcast or/and read their blog here!
This might sound simple or it may sound complex (depending on your disposition and gifting) but EAT TOGETHER!!
Yes, Church is about ‘spiritual food’ but, seriously, why not have some physical food as well. Be it a meal (haystacks for the win) or snacks (a packet of chips or TimTams will suffice) but having people eat together is a psychologically proving way to connect on a deeper level (seriously, there are studies about this, so why not Google the research - I’d link them in but there are too many, I wouldn’t know where to start).
There are obviously challenges with this, as there are with anything, but hopefully, you feel challenged to get involved and make a difference!