Is Your Congregation a Friend?

Steven Koster

May 18, 2009

Regardless of how the economy is behaving or what is going on around us, the church should always be a place in which we are "friends" with sinners. Jesus was the perfect example of this. He ate and drank with sinners and got heavily criticized. We may too, but we should do as Christ wants us to do, not as the world would have us do.

May 18, 2009

It seems very strange to me that you approach the idea of friendliness in the church from the perspective of business. To me that cheapens the role of hospitality in the church.

If anything, I think you should be thinking the other way around. A good church congregation is welcoming to guests as well as a force in the community in which it resides, but not because businesses do that during a recession. God calls us to do this. If anything, businesses are taking a page from the church playbook.

May 18, 2009

Thanks Steve, that's a very timely and good insight. Business at it's fundamental level is simply ritualized human relationships. The servant model works best in personal relationships and so it works best in business relationships as well. And in reality, there is no hard division between our secular life and our church life. Jesus is Lord of it all and he modeled servanthood for us. We shouldn't judge the worth of a practice simply by whether it works, but in this case, it's not only the right thing to do but it builds great businesses. Speaking as a business owner.

Our congregation is looking for ways to respond to the economic devastation in our community and one of the small things we can do is to underwrite the cost of kid's summer camps this year so no parent or child misses out.

What does the Christian brand stand for is a great question to ponder over. It was said that during the great depression that Amy Semple McPherson kept much of Los Angeles fed with her daily soup kitchens.

May 18, 2009

"A brand is nothing more than a promised experience"

i understand the wariness of some people with regards to the usage of business jargon for church and ministry. but i think that is beside the point.

the post leads us to examine the "the promised experience" that the church brings. is it one of friendliness, openness and hope? or is the impression of the world one of judgemental attitude, know-it-all, theologically adept but cold and unloving people? is it a place where Jesus' presence is felt or is it where the modern Pharisees reside? are we being true to our supposedly madated "brand" from the Lord? a community of imperfects, chosen and adopted by God, by grace alone through Christ alone, a group of "called-out" ones, called to worship, to nurture and to witness. are we being the salt of the earth? or just too peppery for some? is Hyundai being a better friend?

Sarah Hubbell
May 19, 2009

My church has a mantra that is oft repeated by all the pastors from the pulpit..."we are working to be an indispensable blessing to our community". And they really do...the amount of service and work they do for various charities and non-profits not at all connected with the church but focused on helping the community is incredible. When Hurricane Ike hit us, they went above and beyond. It's part of being a truly missional church. And all family friendly events are widely advertised through various community sources, and seem to draw in a large number of non-members. But it is clearly not about numbers, not about gaining more members. It's about serving and being the gospel in practice.

May 20, 2009

I think they expect that we will talk to them about our hope in Jesus. That we will in some way acknowledge that we are obligated to do for others in our family, church and community. From painting a house to bagging beans and rice to standing in a soup kitchen making something for someone else to eat. I have seen what just a little kindness will do when there is nothing else around. I want to give back that kindness to others, no promise or expectation of getting anything back. Just a child of God doing for another child of God, that is what I expect. In God's Grace John

Jody Newman
May 27, 2009

The economy is getting very bad and scary for alot of people. The church should be like coffeehouse where people can go and meet other people who can be there for them and being available for help and of assistance too. We are to follow what Jesus did on earth. He ate with sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, poor and healed many people with all kinds of diseases. He was heavily criticized for his obedience to God and for being with ordinary people and yet loving them and children too. Jesus is our best example to follow and practicing obedience, prayers to God, He was very humble. He had struggles with religious leaders. His hometown and His own people rejected Jesus.

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