In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How do you define "church"?

The "Faith in Action" campaign brings this question to light.

This campaign cancels the Sunday service (something many people equate to mean "church") to have members engage in service in their community during that day.

Faith in Action is a four-week, church-wide campaign that has the goal of developing an outward focus and service heart among the participants in a local church. The culmination is a Sunday where regular services are canceled, and the entire congregation engages in service projects in and with their community.

This campaign includes 29-day devotionals that church participants can do on their own at home, 4 weeks worth of small groups, 4 sermons/services - all aimed at calling the local church's hearts to action in their community. Then the last week of the campaign is when the worship service is replaced by a day of community service followed by an evening celebration.

This campaign was developed by a collaborative effort between Outreach Inc. and World Vision. It's been run so that there is an annual campaign that encourages churchgoers each year to shift their focus from themselves to others. Churches that have participated over the last several years testify that the campaign has helped moved their "inactive" members to become active and involved. This last Sunday, October 11, was this year's annual campaign date.

Because the national poverty line – currently at 12.3 percent, according to the United States Census Bureau – has remained relatively the same during the past five years,Outreach and World Vision commissioned a national study to determine Christians' attitudes toward helping the poor. They found that 67 percent of the more than 2,800 churchgoing adults surveyed believe their church is already doing enough to help the poor in their community.

Steve Haas, vice president for church relations at World Vision, says the information exposes a discrepancy between "Christians who believe they are doing enough and the reality that Christians are not doing enough to help our communities." So this Faith in Action campaign was designed to help churches move out of this complacency.

I'd never heard of this whole thing until I read an article yesterday written in response to Sunday's event for many churches. I think it's an awesome idea and want to see if my local church could participate; the next national day is 10-10-2009. I think this type of thing helps redefine church from being what many see it, a Sunday meeting, to be more what we see in the New Testament. I like what Steve Hass has to say about what church is meant to be: "Worship was never to be confined to a single time of a single day during the week but a whole body experience of faithful obedience to a risen Christ".

What do you think about it? Do you think churches need to reach out more in their communities? Do you think this Faith in Action campaign could be an effective method to stimulate that action?


RCUBEs said...

That sounds great. I always go by the saying "actions speak louder than words"...There are a lot of needs out there and it is an awesome thing for the church family to reach out to them and in the process, share the Good News if there's an opportunity, the best we can ever share...Blessings to you sister.

Tony C said...

How ironic! I taught a Sunday School class two weeks ago on 'What is church?'

The two words used to signify 'church' in the New Testament (I'll spare you the Greek)literally translate to 'of the Lord' and 'assembly'. Of course, context can be used to better understand the use of two different words to mean church, however, the words are unique to Christianity.

I will add that one of the two Greek words is ekklesia (assembly) making you think Ecclesiastes, but that comes from a different Hebrew word referring to the speaker of an assembly, either secular or religious.

From the Bible, church literally means 'an assembly' 'belonging to the Lord'. It does not refer to a structure or an action. I do, however, think that action is implied in Ephesians Chapter 5 when Christ is referred to as the head of the church.

A little of your post subject, but I thought I'd throw that in since it was fresh on my mind.

JD Curtis said...

I guess it's OK. I don't see how cancelling worship services is really necessary but then again, it's only temporary. Overall, it's good that they're getting involved.

Tracy said...

JD, my husband John had the same response about the worship cancellation part; he reminded me about the whole Mary & Martha thing. I can see that take on it.

But, on the other hand, it's kind of to make an emphatic point that just meeting is not enough. The regular folks who do bunches in the church and in outreach already, don't really need this emphasis. But the rest of the folks, especially those who go from church to church being blessed by the best of each local, may be activated to actually do something.

There is a time and a need to come away and just worship God; I adore church services for that very reason. But there's also a time to, as Rucube points out, let our actions speak louder than words.

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