Reflect on your own ministry and consider what percentage of your time is devoted to inward spiritual development (inside the body) as opposed to how much time and energy is focused outside the body.
Brandon Hatmaker has formed the missional communities of his church in such a way that they devote 50% of their time and energy inward and 50% of their time and energy outward. They do this by meeting twice a month for their own edification as a group (inward focus), and then twice a month for serving the city or loving their neighbors (outward focus).
We all have a contribution to make. It doesn’t have to be huge. But all of our small contributions come together to make something huge.
Bishop Desmond Tutu said: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
It’s like that with the body of Christ. When we all do our “little bit of good” it comes together to create something greater than the sum of the parts. All these little things together change the world.
We are called not to be a church in the community, to the community or even for the community. We are called to be a church with the community. It’s an important distinction and an important reminder. To shed more light on what this reality can look like in the everyday life of a church, you can listen to a video interview with Dennis Easter if you haven’t already checked that out. Or you can get a hold of Brandon Hatmaker’s new book Barefoot Church—and excellent read with a lot of great stories.
Brandon Hatmaker shares in his new book The Barefoot Church about a way his church created an opportunity for people to experience what it’s like to serve:
“I know that sounds weird to taste need, but that’s what it is: an event designed for people to just show up and feel what it’s like to serve. It’s a critical step. Ours comes in the form of an event we call Serve Austin Sunday (SAS). On fifth Sundays, ANC cancels our regular church gathering to go BE the church. We choose a number of projects to do with strategic non-profit organizations across our city and just go out and serve together.
I’ll tip my hand right from the beginning. Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture is one of the best books I’ve read all year. It’s filled with great, inspiring stories that come from real life, hands-on ministry experience. If you’ve ever wondered whether this church thing ever works, you need to read this book. It provides much-needed hope and direction, as well as a shift in the way we think about what defines “success” in the church.
I was recently at a Missio Intensive in Ashland, Ohio and had an “ah-ha” moment. “Ah-ha” moments are what I call those times when the pieces come together and click into place and you realize something new.
You may be familiar with “the three circles” from the Tangible Kingdom. The idea is that we need to be at the intersection of all three of these areas: community with others, communion with God, and mission of the Kingdom. That’s the sweet spot. Whenever we are only in one or only in two, we need to move to incorporate the other circles.