Culture Can Be Redeemed – Refurbished Reputation
Key Bible Verse: Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – 1 John 3:18
Bonus Reading: 1 John 3:16-19
Our church recognized that its reputation in the community had deteriorated as the church grew. We were known as “the church that causes traffic jams.” Add this to the fact that we paid no taxes and you’ll see why the local government saw us as takers rather than contributors to the community.
So we went to the city manager and asked, “What can we do to serve the community?” He looked at us skeptically and said, “I’ll get back to you.” Three months later he called and asked us to deliver more than 17,000 town directories to every household. “Can you do it?” he inquired. We said yes.
Our church is large, but it was still a challenge to martial more than 200 volunteers to give a September Saturday to deliver these directories. We found the volunteers, and we decided to make this practical service event into a prayer walk—praying for every home in our community as we walked. The service project/prayer walk opened new ideas and opportunities for community outreach, and we entered that fall with a new sense of anticipation of God working through us.
—Paul Borthwick in Stop Witnessing and Start Loving
My Response: Is my church viewed as a negative, irrelevant, or positive factor in my community? What might change that?
Thought to Apply: According to the New Testament, God wills that the church be a people who show what God is like. —Stanley Grenz (theologian)
Adapted from Stop Witnessing and Start Loving (NavPress, 2003)
Prayer for the Week: Since you’ve called me to be salt and light, I’m not free to just blend in. Empower me to make a positive impact where you’ve placed me.