At our annual meeting on April 27th, I presented 5 questions that I believe The Grove’s response to will determine the level of influence we have for Jesus in our city and in our world.
Will we organize for unprecedented serving in our cities?
As The Grove began we built community participation through serving others for the greater good into our culture. We didn’t want it to be something we did as much as it was who we were. This gave us the opportunity to be where God was, to work where He was working and to love our city in practical ways.
We allowed this serving to be grass roots style with lots of people serving in lots of different ways. The highest that the organizing got was when life groups would get together and all serve in a common way or at a common time. It was exciting, fresh, front-line, hard to measure, difficult to evaluate and perfect for who we were becoming.
As our church has grown the percentage of people active in life groups has declined (more actual people, but a lower percentage of the overall church). This isn’t to evaluate if this is good or bad, but it is the truth. So, if our best opportunities to serve outside of our (rented) walls is only open to a select few, then the cultural imperative of being a church that is a benefit to our community begins to be lost. This triggers a need to reorganize in new ways so that we can continue to experience what it is to be God’s hand of blessing towards others.
This is being encouraged in multiple ways (establishing a community life director on staff for the church, June 22nd having our Go Serve Sunday, generating local partnerships with active social services organizations). So the new framework is being built, but success for The Grove is not measured by systems. For us, we will know that we have made a great change when everyone grabs onto the fresh vision and participates.
Our missional mandate is to live for Jesus by loving our city. This cannot just be a catchy phrase that we plaster all over everything. If we fail to put actions to our words, we fail to have integrity and then we fail to be the message of God’s love and hope for our neighbors. This question is more than ‘will we serve’; this question is ‘who will we become’.