Last Sunday I asked the gathered community to finish this prompt: "The purpose of the church is....and my part in it is...." Thank you to everyone who thought about this and who wrote something. Over the next few Caller issues, I'll be sharing all of them without reference to who wrote them.
There are some overarching themes: radical welcome, sharing God's love in deed and word beyond our walls. There was also great variety among the responses. At first, that variety gave me pause because I felt it first as expectation. How can we possibly be all this to so many? Then I rejoiced because it is what you experience the church to be. I rejoiced because it demonstrates we can be differ in our perspective yet still be held together. I rejoiced because I was reminded each of us has a piece of the canvas and the beauty of the church is not captured by anyone of us alone.
Here are some of the responses. More will be on the way in the future. As you read through them, you may recognize yours. I hope all of you will continue to reflect on this and talk to other people inside and outside church about "the purpose of the church is...." Believe me, plenty of people who never attend church have definite opinions on it.
To make Christ known, [to be] a place of worship & fellowship with one another.
To provide fellowship and spirituality to others, learning from others, helps meet our needs for daily living.
A community to embrace all who are needing family and belonging. I see my role or purpose as a welcoming servant.
To provide a place to worship God together. [For] fellowship with other Christians. To renew and inspire our focus. To share our caring for one another. To remember Jesus and his great sacrifice through the act of communion.
To prove God's people a place to worship him. To give us a place for fellowship.
Community. Family. To uphold the 2nd most important commandment: love thy neighbor as you love yourself. Checks and balances; accountability. Teamwork, because no one can do everything all alone (that's how we were designed to operate by God). My place is to Smile, hug, lead somehow (even if it's a small task or project) be present to anyone that is here in our church, too.
To be a place where all people find welcome, acceptance and can grow closer to God. My place is to welcome and accept all people and share our journeys together.
To share God's love with the world. To live at peace with expectation.