First off, take a quick look at the creativity of the following link. 10 cool bridges from around the world. There are two important observations to note:
1) Each bridge serves their purpose for that specific area. The bridge does what a bridge is created to do: get people from point A to point B.
2) Each bridge carries a unique innovative spirit that engages the globe with its creative brilliance. People from all around the world take note of it and are inspired by the uniqueness of each of these bridges.
Now on the church,
More than ever the church needs to localize. Neighborhood churches that restore people and renew the true community that we often lose in an ever-increasing individualistic society are needed more than ever. Though we are more networked than ever before, we somehow grow further and further away from even our own neighbors. The local church and its purpose of announcing the kingdom, and renewing both people and place has to happen and has to happen in its own context.
This is why the local church exists. This is what must happen if the church is to serve it’s purpose.
Yet each local church has a unique potential, not only to change its local community, but to be so confident in its people’s uniqueness and so sensitive to the new work that the Spirit may be doing in the collective heart and soul of that body, that this local body becomes a gift for the globe, engaging the world with its unique ethos and creative brilliance.
Like Mosaic LA, who has not only been a local church converting those from its California coast for years, but also a place uniquely designed to try “new wine skins” (strategies to engage the non-believing). They have become the R & D community for the rest of the country to watch and learn from.
Like Redeemer Presbyterian, who has not only made new disciples in New York City, but has also made “The city” or urban centers and their ever increasing importance a central focus to those in ministry across the world.
Like Oak Point Community who has changed the landscape of their own backyard, but also created and implemented the evangelistic initiative called EACH challenging the church to give (Everbody. A. Chance. To. Hear).
Or the small rural church that has taken on the initiative of adoption and fostering.
Or St. Allan’s, a small Catholic congregation that has carried the mantle for special needs children in South East Michigan.
Or the Kenyan Community that has shown the possibility of planting new churches under every tree in the dry desert land of Rift Valley.
The list goes on and on. Yet one thing is clear.
A church that is making “disciples of the nations” is doing 2 things.
1) They are serving the purpose of the church in its own context. It is making disciples in their own backyard as they make the name and ways of Jesus known through a community of praying, believing people.
2) It is able to harness the unique ethos of its people, and become a unique gift that can engage the rest of the world and even allow the global church to learn from their uniqueness.
2 questions that church leaders and church planters must ask:
Are we being effecting in our own context?
What is the unique passion that will engage the rest of the world?
The Church is the main bridge back to our origins, to what we were created to be and who we were created for. May we be a bridge effective in our own community allowing people to cross to our creator. And may we also be so in tune to who we are collectively, that we add something unique and brilliant that the globe might just be waiting to see.