On the weekend, I went to Roma for a weekend trip to visit with some pastors and chaplains. On the Sunday, I attended the Roma Church Of Christ. It had been int the town for a long time but had moved locations few times. This church had been at its current location since 1991 (23years).
Prior to the church service, I was standing outside absorbing the wonderful sunshine. As I stood there I looked around to see what was surrounding the church property. The front of the church was direct to the street. Directly across the street it was obvious to see there was a Housing Commission area. You could tell from the houses and dirty streets that the community housed a fair amount of lower socio-economic families. I’d imagined if I had knocked on each of the doors and spoken with those living there that there would be a huge amount of brokenness and need.
It was like my eyes were opened. Here was a church built to represent Christ and directly across the road was the perfect mission and place to represent Christ. I wondered how many of those who attended the church even knew who lived across the street. How many had even had a conversation with those living there? Did they know any of the families living along there street?
I decided to chat with the pastor and ask him about those living in the community directly opposite the church. The pastor was fairly new to the church but his answer concerned me. He had said they had done a survey of the area and what would be the needs and peoples approach with regards to the church. But that is all they had done. It made me think that I also attend a church where I don’t even know myself those who live on our street. I am aware that there are a number of places along out street housing the less fortunate, but I have no relationship with them.
How can we as a church continue life and attending church with out having an impact on our own street? Isn’t that what a church is meant to do? Share Christ with those in their community? How many times have we driven by or walked by these homes? How many people living in those homes are living so close to a church yet not experiencing and encountering Christ?
I wonder how many people attend our church and wouldn’t know who is living on the same street?
Are we not responsible for these just as much as we are for those we minister to in our direct “ministries”? Are we not to be a light and hope to our street?
I want to be a part of being a church of Christ that actually has the ability and mission to be Christ in the streets and have a direct impact on the community within which we are directly located. I want to not be caught up in attending and just doing my own thing in ministry, but being intentional about those that are in my direct locality.
I don’t have answers but this is something I’m going to be praying into and also wanting to put action into. I don’t know how or when but there is a time to start. We can no longer be a church that stands and yet ignores this who live directly across the street. We are to be the light and hope. We have the light and the hope. We are called to be like Jesus. Let us not wait and expect another to do it. We are all responsible, each one of us, for the lives of those who live in our community.