As the Head is, so Goes the Rest

I was talking to a pastor of a neighboring church the other day. I asked him what about his church’s involvement in the local community. He didn’t really understand my question. We had already discussed how they take care of the needs of the poor, so my question caught him off guard. So I rephrased my question.

“What does the community think about this church?”  He had no idea.

I tried again. “If a leader in the community had someone with a need, would they bring them to you?” I asked.

His eyes lit up. “We have a good relationship with the mayor’s office, and we are in their parade every year.”  He thought that was a great response.

My reaction was OUCH!  The manager of Safeway was the leader I was thinking of – he was more likely to know people with needs.

This isn’t a 50 person church in a great big city.  This is a church of over 2,000 in a city of 40,000.  Yet the city is ‘them’ and the church is ‘us’.  What do you think those 2,000 people think about the people living on their block who don’t have Judeo Christian values?  Do you think they have any idea how to help their neighbor become ‘us’?

As the corporation goes, so the parts within it.

I first started learning this concept as I listened to Rick Enloe talk about a local businessman he and the pastor staff at our church had befriended while he was pastor.  Up to this point in my life, pastors had been white ivory tower dudes who prayed a lot, spoke from the pulpit, and were generally not really human.  Rick was different.  His whole staff was different.  They were real people who loved people.  Not because they were good church people.  They loved the vegetable stand guy because he was there.  They loved the mocha stand guy because he was there…and he made great mochas.  They did their best to bless the whole neighborhood in the name of Jesus.  Because that’s what being Christ’s body meant – being His presence in a location and making a difference.

Do you want your church members to be suspicious of their neighbors or inviting?  Do you want them to be community builders on their culdesacs or do you want them to stay isolated?  This last one is a big question because it demands that we change our programming accordingly.  But here’s the kicker – they won’t be inviting towards their neighbors if you don’t know the business leaders of your church neighborhood and have lunch with them from time to time.  They won’t be community builders if they haven’t first learned it from you.

As the head is, so goes the rest.

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One Response to “As the Head is, so Goes the Rest”

  1. Jeanine Says:

    Right on! (and yet sometimes so hard to do.) Changing one’s paradigm is a process, like a graph, with lots of ups & downs, but if the general line of the graph is going up, then that’s progress! Reminders like these help – a lot!

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