The View from My Window: Finding Ways To Connect People to Purpose

The View from My Window: Finding Ways To Connect People to Purpose


David A. Gilmore

1/20/2017

These last few months have been a whirlwind of activity for me as I have been blessed to travel into every district visiting and (prayerfully) assisting churches. One of the most common themes I’m encountering is the concern over declining membership in our churches. What is surprising is the opinion held by some that the people “out there” (that is, those of us “out there”) have no need and/or time for those of us “in here.” 

So, what are we doing to make our churches relevant to the people out there? (I just know someone is asking that very question!)

I read and hear plans that include major building renovations or repaving and relining the parking lot. I read and hear plans that include rearranging the pulpit and/or the style(s) and time(s) of worship. I read and hear plans that address the symptoms, but are (in my humble opinion) missing the real root of the problem. I once heard it said—and have found it to be true—that “worship or praise without community engagement is entertainment, and community engagement without worship is charity.” 

So what are we doing to make our churches relevant to the people out there?

I would suggest we seek to connect people to purpose. By that, I mean providing the “space” for people to discern their purpose—where we fit in God’s plan . . . where God is moving us . . . what God has in mind for us—then we are on the right path to connecting people to purpose.

The days of the church dictating to the community are long gone because the church has lost touch with what the community truly needs. We believe if we feed a family or offer some slightly used clothing once a week we have met the needs of our community. However, I would offer that if we are not actually spending time in our community away from our ivory towers, meeting our neighbors where they eat, shop or even socialize, then we do not really know our neighbor or our neighbor’s needs.

I would suggest that those of us “in here” begin spending quality time around those of us “out there,” listening with a non-judgmental ear and caring heart. I would suggest making a conscious effort to become a partner with a school where we actually spend time and resources. I would suggest our pastors take our youth to visit the local fire stations, police stations and hospitals. Finally, I would suggest weekly prayer walks around the neighborhood surrounding our houses of worship.

Who knows? Doing these three things just might move us into positions to make our churches relevant to those of us “out there” and “in here.” #connecting people2purpose

Stepping away from the window . . .