Hear from Dr. Jon Roebuck:
Hey everyone I want to share another trait with you from our seven traits of thriving congregations.
This trait is called Missional Fervor, or sometimes it is referred to as Contextual Awareness. What does that really mean?
We’ve discovered that churches that are doing well – that are thriving in their context – have a real bedrock sense of who they are and what they need to do. In other words, these churches have a sense of: We are God placed and now we are being God pushed.
They have a deep desire to impact their community. It’s that desire to reach beyond themselves that really begins to drive everything they do. It drives their vision. It drives their budget. It drives their programming. It’s “How do we expand ministry? How do we reach the world around us? How do we engage the people around us?”
A good friend of mine pastors a church down in Franklin, Tennessee. His church has an interesting slogan. His church says this about itself: We want to be the church that Franklin loves.
I want you to think about that. That’s a little different spin on a slogan. Think about it for a moment.
Every church I know of, all the churches in Nashville, would want to say “We’re the church that loves Nashville.” We say that a lot, right? We want to love our community, but are we important enough and are we missionally focused enough to be the church that the community actually loves?
I mean, would the community be impoverished if our church wasn’t in that place? So can we all become the church that the community loves?
Well the way you do that is not just with making up clever slogans but it’s about having that vision of really impacting the community.
[The vision] of saying: What does our community need for us to be? What does the community not have? What’s the void that we could help to fill? What are the needs that are present? What are the complicating factors that somehow as a church we could begin to lean into.
The trait we want to talk about is: “Do we have a sense of missional fervor? In other words, are we self centric or are we community focused?” That’s the real difference.
Churches that thrive tend to be less self centered and more about the community: “Who’s in our community? What demographics are there? What age groups are represented? What problems exist? What are the needs of the community?”
And then, [churches] begin to say: “Alright if we’ve been placed in this setting then what do we need to do about those needs? What do we need to impact those people? How do we effectively change the lives of the people around us?”
Thriving congregations have that sense of contextual awareness. We have a fervor, a desire, an urgency to do something in our community – to be a part of the community [and] to be integral to the community.
Is your church a thriving congregation? Perhaps what it needs is to have that outward focus where it absolutely wants to impact the community in which it is placed.