Failing Communities = Failing Churches

Here is a general rule I live by:

If your church is doing well and your town isn’t; your church is not doing well.

The point is that the church can’t grow and thrive as the community that surrounds it and supports it fails. If the church is growing but your neighbors are drowning in debt, depression and difficulty, the church isn’t really growing.

  • The church cannot be doing well, if our neighbors are struggling.
  • The church cannot be doing well, if the youth of the town aren’t valued.
  • The church cannot be doing well, if single mothers across the street aren’t loved.
  • The church cannot be doing well, if people don’t know one another’s name…

The point for me is to change our perspective. My goal isn’t to have our church grow massive; but to have a deep impact in the people and places that we are a part of. My goal isn’t for the church to be the biggest church in the area but to truly be the church to the area; meaning that we bring life, love, and grace to people needing it.

I think this is what Jesus gets at when he calls the church salt. Salt is supposed to change things. It’s supposed to preserve good things, enhance flavor, and bring out great taste. This is what the church is to do too. So today why not bring a little flavor and life to your community. Help a neighbour, start a conversation, invite someone over for coffee…

Because I think the reverse of my rule is true too. If your community is being filled with grace, life, God’s love, and is doing well…then your church is doing well too…

7 thoughts on “Failing Communities = Failing Churches

  1. Andrew… thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I have waited a long time to hear this ‘mini sermon’! It is something I constantly struggle with… Bless you for saying this ‘out loud’.

    1. Your so welcome. I just think its important for us to remember that churches that succeed are churches that partner with God in the community

      1. I’m going to dive in and ask a question… I had typed more yesterday, then deleted it because I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there. Today I will. But first I need to give you some background…

        My struggle started after hearing several testimonies of Christians attending churches that ‘police’ tithing, and when the one family lost all income, and could no longer pay their tithe, the church kicked their kids out of the school. The family didn’t even have money for groceries. (This happened less than an hour from my house, and that’s the short version of a horrific story… ) In a totally different church denomination, a similar thing took place. A family lost electricity, phone, and didn’t have enough money for food, when the church demanded they continue to give. (One of my family members was involved in this denomination some years ago, and confirmed that tithing is mandatory or ‘policed’.)

        Here is my questions… In the OT where tithing is introduced, there are explicit instructions as to what is to be done with those finances, how it is to be used to help the poor, the widows etc. Why is that never taught? Why is the ‘law’ of tithing enforced, or presented in a guilt-laden teaching, while the ‘management’ of it seems to be overlooked most of the time? (I have seen a few churches do this quite well, but for the most part, it seems to be overlooked. I don’t get it. How can one law be ‘critical to have God’s blessing’, while the other is disregarded.

        (I do need to go back and study the OT on this again… It has been a while. But I struggle when I see what appears to be manipulation and abuse of power.) Am I missing something here?

  2. Hi Trudy – I don’t think you are missing something, and I’m sorry to hear about those tragic situations (those stories break my heart as a pastor in a church). But I think when Old Testament tithing is mentioned the reason it existed (to take care of the economically vulnerable ~ widow, orphan, etc) must also be mentioned. Preaching tithing means preaching God’s vision for how the money is used and why its collected anyway. I could say a lot more on it but if you want to here my full thoughts – check out my sermon under “4 Things You Don’t Talk About In Church”. I talk about money and how in the New Testament giving gets directly tied to grace, generosity, and never guilt. Or for a quicker update on my thoughts check out this post I made a long time ago. Both links are below. I hope they help!

  3. The Willow Creek REVEAL surveys have identified four marks of churches that manage to really encourage spiritual growth in their members. Number 4 is that they don’t pastor the church, they pastor the local community. See the great book “Move” for more details.

    1. I actually read that book and are going through it with my elders here at the church…at your recommendation I might add! Thanks for the recommendation it was a really great book!

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