Opportunities within Community Experiences
There is no shortage of church programs right now. You can find something for different generations, seasons of life, and interests. Yet, people are thirsting for more. They desire connection. One of the greatest opportunities we have at our disposal right now is the ability to make and create authentic friendships within our communities. If the local church is the largest movement in the world, then it’s because our founder established a model we can follow.
The churches with the most significant influence are those that understand how to engage and build community.
What if we began to pioneer and champion building communities of authenticity? It’s not hard at all. It just requires us to reframe how we see our schedule. We all naturally have rhythms of life, work, and play. Seeing these domains of relationship as mission fields of friendship could be advantageous for the cause of Christ. The churches with the most significant influence are those that understand how to engage and build community. If your church was gone, would it be missed?
Every year our church hosts a Christmas store. The goal is to create a pop-up experience where locals can shop for new donated toys at 70% off, the same toys you would find in Walmart or Amazon. This event has led to opportunities for people in the community to get to know one another and build a genuine relationships. It has been an exercise in true hope-building.
Opportunities within Shared Experiences
We are called to help people capture shared experiences. Everything about the faith that we profess is about this. Take baptism, for example. This episodic and prophetic experience is an invitation for all to see. Just the other day, our church baptized 15 people. Those people will never forget that day. Why? Their whole being is now attached to a deeply spiritual and meaningful event. This type of transformational way of thinking can accelerate disciple-making in our churches.
Opportunities within Digital Experiences
The advent of social media has yielded a surprising opportunity. Now more than ever, we have become a digitally connected community. If it was a country, Facebook would be the largest mission field in the world. What does that mean for us? We can now leverage this digital phenomenon and use it for the cause of Christ. For example, we can equip “Digi-pastors” to launch fresh expressions of the kingdom called digitally.
Opportunities within Congregations
In the early days of the church, ordinary missionaries were commissioned to make disciples. If you look at the life of Barnabas, we see a businessman turned apostle. How? Why? Church leadership saw in him what he did not see in himself. Dave Ferguson talks about this in his book “Hero Maker.” Essentially, the job of every senior leader is to enjoy the fruit grown on other people’s trees. It’s transitioning from being the story’s hero to raising others to discover who they are.
As churches today face unprecedented challenges and crises, we are well-positioned to actualize opportunities. Which of these opportunities will you take?
Myron Pierce is the Director of Church NEXT for Leadership Network. Myron currently serves as lead pastor of Mission Church, a grassroots inner city mission in Omaha. His latest book, “Digital Ministry,” has become a number one best seller on Amazon. He and his wife, Kristin, live in the heart of North Omaha with their three sons and daughter.