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May/June 2006 Issue

Being Neighbourly, Being Missional

Cam Roxburgh has written “The Role of the Church in Community Transformation,” a chapter in the book Discipling Our Nation (Church Leadership Library, 2005). He points out that a key way to join in the mission of God is to be an attractive community within a neighbourhood:

One day I was sitting at my dining-room table with a friend who didn’t know Christ. We were talking about all of the evidence in society that indicates the values and morals of our culture were going downhill in a hurry. . . .

I said: “Timothy. When will it stop? Is there no end to how far our society can sink?” He responded: “Cam, it will only stop when there is a group of people who learn to live together in such a way that their values and morals are seen to be so attractive that others all around them will want to become a part of them.”

I choked up as I responded.

“Timothy, that is what the Church is supposed to be like.”

It has become a deep conviction that part of the gospel needs not just to be told but shown as God’s people live out in a neighbourhood what it means to be the people of God together.

The Good News of Jesus includes the fact that we are invited into the family of God to live in community with new brothers and sisters. This way of living will be attractive to those who don’t yet know Christ. . . .

We believe deeply that we are called to reach people who do not know Christ, but that we are also to work for neighbourhood transformation. This is part of the Good News.

My prayer is that others who read this chapter will catch a passion for transforming their neighbourhoods and grow bold and creative in ways in which that may be done.

He goes on to highlight biblical texts that support a neighbourhood orientation and examples of neighbourly actions emanating from his congregation. He then itemizes three indicators of what a church that is “in the business of neighbourhood transformation” looks like: first it’s missional (including proclamation, social justice actions, whole gospel, mission of God and the reign of God).

Second, it’s incarnational (move beyond being religious consumers by drawing a boundary around the neighbourhood and considering it one of the congregation’s mission fields, and then move into, shop, play, visit and, if possible, find employment in that neighbourhood).

Third, it’s intentional (use worship to reach neighbours, set impact goals for particular neighbours and neighbourhood groups, become experts on the neighbourhood, use the congregation’s time, talents and treasure in service of the neighbourhood and network with other churches in the city).

Results Southside Church has seen include good relations with schools, reduction in neighbourhood crime, increasing partnerships with neighbourhood organizations, community spirit, increased involvement in fighting poverty and accepting cultural diversity, contributing to healthy family life of neighbours).

 

Other Articles
May/June 2006 Issue

Cover Story
God, Glory, Gold: Athletes Who Believe

Featured Articles
The Missional Church: Getting Back to the Core of Our Identity

Helping Congregations Be More Missional

Where Does This "Missional Church" Talk Come From?

Being Neighbourly, Being Missional

From the Editor
Our Cover and More

The Gathering Place
The Ottawa Manifesto

   
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