Last night, Jenna and I had a chance to have an extended conversation with some of our neighbors. We talked about a recent crime that had been committed in front of our apartment two nights before and the police investigation that followed.
After a few minutes of discussion, the subject changed to my role as the Pastor of Park Slope Community Church. I told them about about the location of the church and they responded in a positive way about knowing where the church was located and some positive things about the church.
They were also quick to say that they had a lot of baggage concerning their previous experiences with church and that they didn't think that they could attend any church any longer.
This is the experience of a lot of people when it comes to the church. They have witnessed inconsistencies, experienced manipulation, or have been exposed to a powerless version of the gospel.
Too often, people associate the church as being a closed or isolated group of people who share similar beliefs. They also associate the church as being passionately and vocally against different issues and causes.
But, what if the message of the church, what if the message of our church was that God was for them and that we were for them? What if the message of Park Slope Community Church was that God was for every person who lives in Brooklyn?
The truth is that God is for every person in Brooklyn and God's desire is for every person in Brooklyn to come to know the love and the grace of Jesus Christ.
Beginning this coming Sunday evening, June 4, at 6:00 pm., we are going to be looking at what it means to share and show the love of Jesus to people in our community. I will be presenting something that I am calling the 251 Vision.
The 251 Vision will provide some framework for our plans and desire to be a church that demonstrates that we are for our city and for our community.
Over the next eight Sunday evenings we are going to be discussing some of the tangible ways that we can share and show this type of love to people in our community.
You see, even though Jenna and I were told by our new friends that they didn't have a lot of interest in attending the church, they did invite us to attend a party that is taking place on our block next month.
The 251 Vision is not just about getting people to come to our church, it's also about discovering that it is just as effective and important to bring the church to the people.
The 251 Vision consists of the following:
We want to understand and follow the two primary commandments that Jesus teaches us as the greatest commandments. (Matthew 22:37-40)
We are to love God with every aspect of our lives. We are to love Him with all that we have. We are to hold nothing back from Him and we are to commit to following Him with our entire lives.
We are also to love our neighbor with the understanding that every person on our block and in our community is our neighbor. We are to love them without hesitation and without stipulation. While we are looking to love God and love people in every way, we are also looking for tangible and specific way to share and show the love of Jesus to people in our extremely cynical and skeptical neighborhood and community.
These commandments will be the foundation of how our church influences and engages our community. It is my prayer that we will see Park Slope Community Church emerge from not being a solitary location or the host of a solitary event, but that our church would engage and recognize opportunities for worshiping God and loving people, no matter where we may be.
We want to see Park Slope Community Church as a church that is healthy, growing, and reproducing. This means that our church will be functioning with these five primary values.
- Authority regarding the Word of God
- Authenticity regarding our relationships with God and with one another
- Appreciation regarding our understanding of gratitude toward God and one another
- Approachability regarding our desire to foster strong relationships that allow us to be approachable
- Advancement of The Gospel regarding the fact that we are church that desires to every person in our community experience the forgiveness and grace of Jesus Christ
We want to see Park Slope Community Church exist for the one mission of seeing people changes and transformed through the Truth of who Jesus and what Jesus has done for us.
This means that Park Slope Community Church will intently bring and share this message with people in our community, city, and throughout the world.
We have an amazing opportunity to be a church that loves the people around us, that is intent on leading people to trust Jesus, and to become people who are growing in a deeper relationship with Jesus, allowing us to live out the mission that Jesus has given.
The 251 Vision is captured in Isaiah 25:1
"Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago."
My prayer is that you will join us on this journey. If you are already a part of Park Slope Community Church, please don't miss this. This is going to be a focal point of our church.
If you are looking for a church, please consider joining us over the next several weeks as we share some of the details of what it would like to be a part of the 251 Vision.
Each Sunday evening during the months of June and July, we will share a meal together and go over one aspect of the 251 Vision.
Please join us for this if you are possibly able to do so.
We are excited about all that has in store for Park Slope Community Church and our community.