Anything can happen when the attitude and motive is right and when the Holy Spirit is at work!
I asked the young pastor how he was doing in his new role as lead pastor of a prominent church in town. He replied, “I have a P.R. nightmare on my hands.!” He went on to say that the former pastor had been a “control freak” and had put locks on every closet, every classroom, and even the sanctuary. He wouldn’t let seasoned teachers use the new copy machine. Several community service groups had been using the church facilities for weekly meetings to which the former pastor asked them to leave, citing liability. If that wasn’t enough, the former pastor put up signs in the parking lot that read “If thou dust not attend this church, thou shalt not park here!” (as if parking in the church lot had something to do with the Ten Commandments). YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP! Unfortunately, it has taken years for the new pastor to gain the trust of the city and nearby merchants in which the church at one time traded parking lot privileges that served everyone well.
But I am continually amazed at a new generation of pastors who instead of giving a strong message to the community of exclusiveness, are working hard to build relationship in the community. One of my young friends sits on the City Counsel. Another pastor is actually the Mayor of his town. We all want people in the community to attend our church, but it will never happen until there is good relationship! And good relationship will never happen when a pastor is controlling and lives in fear.
Here are some things some of my friends are doing in the community with no expectation of getting anything in return. Just loving people because Christ loves them! And as they do, people in the community do take notice!
- Back Packs – purchasing back packs and filling them with school supplies for needy children
- Lunch Buddies – Grandmas and grandpas have lunch with specific students
- Tutoring children who are struggling with school
- Landscape projects when schools or city halls have a shortage of funds
- Community dinners
- All-church worship service in the park
- Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner
- Grocery bags for needy families
- Food pantry
- Volunteering to help at city events
Sure beats putting padlocks on everything and do-not-park-here signs in the parking lot! While doing a landscape project for a nearby school, the principle invited the workers from the church inside and then asked them to pray for him and the school! Anything can happen when the attitude and motive is right and when the Holy Spirit is at work!