How do you transform a community?

The Outer Edge by Eric Joyner

This is the question I ask myself daily.  This is a question that burrows into your heart and hibernates for a season, until it hatches when the time is right.  I live with this question.  It possesses my energy and my efforts.

How does one transform a community?  Transform from what to what?  What are the reaches of community?  Who transforms the community?

I have been charged with the task of transforming a community.  I have been called to do this via Christian Education.  I believe if we begin with the question, “How do you transform a community” you will end up with band –aid fixes and react to the circumstance around you.  You cannot transform a community.  A community must be transform.  This is something only God can do.

I am currently in prayer about securing the necessary support to transform the community.  I am trying to assess the what, where, and why of our community.  I am excited by the potential and history of our community.  We worship in a house that is full of compassion, witness to justice, and hunger for the oppressed.  I think that if I can form the framework around this and build an education program that informs, guides, and fills the symbols of the church in a manner that speaks to this day’s context we will train up disciples of Christ for years to come.

I am building the education program on the foundation of lectionary and liturgical calendar.  As I weave the lessons for the children on up to the adults all will connect the community to the liturgical calendar and flow with the lectionary.

We are going to have new and innovative classes to offer the community.  We will study the Theology of Worship, Hymnody, Postmodern Theology, Liberation Theology, Queer Theology, Missiology/Evangelism, and current ethical and moral debates in contemporary culture.

The education programs will connect the community to Sunday worship [by filling the church’s symbols with a context that bridges yesterday and today] and empower us all to witness a deep moving of the Spirit in worship and out into the surrounding community.  In doing so the community will witness a reorientation as a missional community based in a visible incarnation of Jesus Christ.  Essentially we bear witness to Jesus the Christ as we serve the community as agents of transformation.  It is in this process that we are transformed.

We are transformed as we build deeper and more intimate relationships with each other and with the community.  We move away from programmatic operation towards a relational operation.  It is in the investment of these relationships that growth witnessed in depth of faith and service to the community yields members.  People are drawn to relationships that are honest and real.

The X and Y generations are particularly drawn to relationships.  They can sniff out the bullshit of programmatic offerings and navigate in the sea of “spiritual but not religious.”  We will only be transformed as a community as much as we are individually transformed. 

I pray for a Spirit of evangelism coupled with a deep progressive faith of inclusive love and affirmation spill upon our community.  I know God is calling us to move in this direction.  We must as a community, discern what this call means.  How will we respond to God’s call?  How will we transform as a community.  We will not transform ourselves.  God must be involved.  I pray that a season of pray fill our hearts and tongues.  I pray we ask the following questions.  How does one transform a community?  Transform from what to what?  What are the reaches of community?  Who transforms the community?

I am blessed to have been called to the community I have been called to.  I love the mixing of progressive faith with traditional [high] worship.  There is something very beautiful to a community that is traditional and progressive.  I believe this is a place where one can be a progressive, denominationalist, reformed, evangelical, postmodern, disciple of Christ.

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