New Church Launch – Come Be a Part!
OK — did I get your attention? As Loving Community launched in June 2014, the number one question I fielded was this. “Are you planting a new church?” My typical, and perhaps a little snarky response was, “Why would I plant a new church, there are 37 churches in my zip code!”
Truth be known, most communities don’t need any new churches. What communities need are for existing churches to BE the church. Or as one pastor summed it up, “If your church moved from the community this week, would your neighborhood even notice?”
This morning, like every Wednesday morning over the past few months, I walked out my front door and walked the 185 steps it takes me to BE the church. Let me explain.
For years as I drove away from my neighborhood, commuting the 5 miles to the church where I worked, occasionally I wondered what the building was at the end of my block. Pausing at the stop sign, I had a good view into the window of a large dining room. Elderly folks I suspected, beginning their day with breakfast. These, were my neighbors, however, I had never found the time to be very neighborly.
Then as Jesus began to lead us into HIS rhythms of life and ministry, to learn HIS unhurried ways of being a good neighbor, I took my first 185 step stroll to the Arbor House Assisted Living and Dementia Care Home. It was on that day I met my neighbors — literally!
Lauren Saxon is the Engagement Director at Arbor House. She passionately and compassionately plans a wonderful and engaging life for her residents, families and staff. Pop corn, cookies, nature walks, music, singing, dancing, story telling, art classes and simply friendship is what I found at Arbor House.
Lauren actually lives in my same town home community, and so is my neighbor in more than once sense. As Lauren and I have become friends, she has invited me to volunteer and serve her “Arbor House” family. One way in which we do this is on Wednesday mornings at 10:00 a.m., we provide church for the residents, family members, and staff. The numbers vary, but typically we have 30 or so attending.
We’re not a “hipster” church as such, unless you count those recovering from broken hips. 🙂 It’s pretty simple. Susan, a resident is our pianist. She was a lifelong church pianist. Though she doesn’t always remember everything we talk about, she confidently plays the old hymns on the piano, all by memory! The preaching is just average (me) and gets better when my fellow town home neighbor Bryan speaks. Singing, prayers, bible teaching and lots of hugs. That’s how our church rolls!
So if you’re still reading, I confess a little bait and switch in my blog title. We really haven’t launched a new church — however are just BEING the church, 185 steps from our front door.
May I wonder with you, what ways could Jesus be calling you to BE the church within walking distance from your home?
I am daily led by the words found in John 1:14, “The Word [Jesus] became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.”
May it be so with us,
PS – Lots of ways to engage the Arbor House family. If you would like to volunteer you can find a “top ten” list by clicking this link. http://lovingcommunity.ivolunteer.com/arborhouse