Sunday, September 13, 2009

Touching Base! Part 53

Saying it Again and Again

Ok you have heard me say it before and I am going to say it again- “We all must take responsibility for building community at Bethel.” It doesn’t happen......

• As a result of the elders planning it
• Because we preach sermons about it
• When people tell stories illustrating the value of it
• As a result of articles being written about it
• When we hang banners announcing it

It happens when you and I realize that regardless of our gift mix, personality type, or years at Bethel, we can and must contribute to Bethel being a place where people find a home, go beyond the crowd and engage in deeper community life together. This is an attitude we must live out, a value we must embrace, and a responsibility we must take seriously. It must be something we are conscious of, that we own and desire to see in every context at Bethel. It requires great commitment because community takes time, trust, knowledge, and repeated actions of engagement with people. Persistence can eventually break through the many cultural and personal barriers people put up that resist community.

So let me suggest some ways you can champion community at Bethel:

Be a networker. That means when you meet new people be aware of what ministries you should connect them with. Introduce them to the appropriate leaders. Also take time to introduce new people to others you know. Networking is for some a tremendous gift they have that can deeply enrich the church as we build community.
Be a pew slider. Nothing worse than coming into a church on a Sunday morning, and not being able to find a place to sit. At Bethel this is a common problem. When regulars sit motionless in their pews, looking like they have been somehow glued to their pew, it can make it awkward for others looking for a place to sit. Slide over! This is a skill that can be mastered very easily. Just watch out for slivers.
Be a team player. Many of us are involved in ministry at Bethel. The best, safest and smartest ministry takes place in the context of a team. Thus if you are on a team, be sure to be contributing to the community value on that team. Attempt to get to know some of your ministry partners in contexts outside of Sunday morning. As we have said in the past, pursue the story behind the face. One way you can do this is by coming to Together being held Sunday the 13th from 4-6 p.m.. This event is for all volunteers at Bethel.
Be prayerful. This is God’s church and it is His desire more than it ever could be ours for the church to experience rich community together. With such diversity at Bethel it will take nothing but a miracle for community to be built.
Be willing to cross over. If you are going to contribute to community at Bethel you must be willing to cross over. Move from the familiar to the unfamiliar. Shift from the same old crowd to embracing new people of a different generation and even persuasion. I am not saying bail on all your long time friendships but I am saying we must be willing to spend time with the new, and the different, helping them find where they can experience community at Bethel.

So...... let’s get at it! Growing in intimacy with others changes lives!


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