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Building Bridges of Friendship in Our Community

 

Let’s face it, in our desire for the church to be vibrant, growing, and healthy, it sometimes can lead us to over-focus on ourselves, instead of the ministry the church does in the community.

Vital to our missional strategy of multiplying Christ-followers everywhere is the need to impact community residents regularly, repeatedly, redemptively and unconditionally.

When we as a church chose to live on mission, there’s a strong temptation to go in all directions at once. We realize there are so many needs and so many ways to help, but, it’s not the amount of activity that matters; it’s the impact we are having. We chose Rio Vista Elementary school to serve frequently, generously, and beneficially.  We have been cultivating this relationship for the last year and a half.

Now we are continuing in the process of serving for their benefit, not ours.  This is our way of building bridges of friendship and trust with our community.  We are not serving primarily to get people to join our church, but it does provide a context for us as believers to demonstrate the Gospel for those who, otherwise, would not experience it.

I recently read about a church who decided to adopt their city offices, offering free volunteers for any civic function. At first their offers fell flat. City offcials were skeptical that church members would manipulate this opportunity to promote itself and button-hook guests into one-sided religious debates. After months of saying “no,” the city had a need for volunteers they could not fill any other way.

When church members came and served without wearing church logo shirts, without hanging a banner advertising their service times and location, and without handing out ‘Come Worship With Us’ cards—the city was relieved. The church was invited back…again and again. Careful to love and serve the city for its benefit alone, the church developed a reputation for being authentic, caring, and generous.  Relationships formed. Trust developed. In time, several city employees gave their lives to Christ, and some are now regulars at the church.

Working As a Team

To become a vibrant church that reaches the community, we must work as a team.  We have people who have been building relationships with the school and its teachers and administrators and now we are hosting a block party to raise money for them.  We need you on the team to help put the block party on.  Will you join in serving our community so that we can build bridges of relationships and trust with our neighborhood and will you commit to praying for the people we will serve, that they will experience the love and grace of God through God’s people and that they will ultimately come into relationship with the Father.