Two studies are underway here at Calvin church: a congregational study and a community study. The surveys many of you have returned will shed light on how members of the congregation feel about things. The community study (being done by the Ministry Study Information Team using a tool called MissionInsite) will shed light on the church’s neighbors: demographics, interests, religious attitudes, etc. The information gathered from both studies will be used for the search for the next Pastor.
When we examine what are neighbors are up to and who they are, we’re not approaching our work with predetermined plans for response or how Calvin will get new members. The team wants to sincerely ask, “Who is our neighbor? Do our neighbors needs assistance? And if so, can we help?”
Examining our community might tell us as much about ourselves as a church
as it will about our neighbors.
If we truly believe God is everywhere and God’s Spirit (like the wind) goes where it will, we want to know how God is working in the lives of our neighbors… churched or unchurches, believer or unbeliever. And when we discover how God is at work in the community, we might want to ask “Should we be involved? If so, how?” Examining our community might tell us as much about ourselves as a church as it will about our neighbors.
God is already there. God is in the homes and businesses even if we’re not. So, what is God doing? How are lives being changed? We tend to think we’re the saviors; we’ll fix the people in our community. Maybe our neighbors need a friend, a hot meal, a babysitter, eldercare. Can we be there for them?
Maybe you’ve heard this before. What’s the shortest sentence in the Bible? “Jesus wept.” Let me suggest a short sentence that isn’t stated but is witnessed in the Bible. Change one consonant and we get “Jesus went.” He didn’t go to church; he went to people in need. Jesus didn’t lounge at home; he went where he was needed.
What is God doing in Calvin’s neighborhood? Your study team will report back to you in October. Stay tuned.