Yesterday I heard something in a lecture that has stuck in my mind. The speaker, a pastor from a church in Indiana, asked the question, “What is your church known for in your community?” This question had a way of crystalizing something I have been thinking about lately. As a church of roughly 100 people, give or take 15, who is nestled in a community of close to 40,000 residents (not counting surrounding towns), for what is our church known? It hasn’t surprised me to receive a blank stare from a local person when mentioning I am pastor at King of Glory Lutheran. Sometimes I say, “You know, the old Methodist church?” “Oh, oh yeah, I know where that is,” is the typical response. Though we may be a small group compared to the surrounding population, that should not and will not stop us from being salt and light. As I ponder this question, here are a few thoughts of how I’d like people in the community to respond to “What is King of Glory Lutheran known for?"
1) They preach and teach the Bible, God’s Word, and primarily the life-giving message of Jesus Christ. How will people who don’t come to church here know this? By visiting or simply by hearing this via word of mouth. I think people often view churches as “always talking about money,” or “they are just against everything.” How neat would it be to have a reputation of a church that, yes, preaches against sin, but also preaches grace?
2) They really love people. I would love to hear this about our congregation. I have sensed that people do generally feel really welcomed when visiting on a Sunday morning. We can be--and in fact you are--salt and light. Let that love that Christ has poured out on you flow to those around you.
3) They are really helping people. The speaker that I mentioned above is the lead pastor at a church that offers free biblical counseling to anyone in their community regardless of psychiatric label, etc. That sounds like a really great vision to me. Other churches offer different types of outreach into their community. I would really love to hear someone say of our church, “You know, I don’t know exactly what’s going on there, but I know someone who was really hurting before going there and now are being helped in their struggle.”
How about you? How would you (or how would you like to) answer the question, “What is your church known for in your community?”