story of cultural engagement

Gordon Bauslaugh, Lead pastor at Christ Community Church in Puyallup, Washington, is enjoying engaging more and more the community outside the church. Here’s a story from him: 

It’s often hard as a pastor to engage with people outside of the church because you’re always surrounded by Christians. It was easier when our kids were younger because we had natural points of connection with other parents through school, sports, recitals, etc. Our youngest son, in college at the time, was a business student and received a small scholarship from a local business group: South Hill Referrals. I went along to see him receive his scholarship, and as I’m sitting there, I’m thinking, “This is my tie-in.”

The group is comprised of local business people, with only one representative per profession, with the idea of understanding each others’ fields better so they can make referrals when appropriate. I told them, “I’m really enjoying this. Is it possible to be part of this group?” “What’s your profession?” “I’m a cardiologist… spiritually speaking.” “What do you mean?” “I’m a minister and I work for the great physician.”

I began attending the group. Each time they met, two people would give a 10-minute presentation about what they do– realtors, chiropractors, fields we may not know much about otherwise– then others would ask them questions. When my turn came to present, I said, “I watched some of you give your presentations, and I wondered what I should do from a religious perspective.” Pause. “So I decided to take an offering.”  You could just feel the tension leave the room as everyone laughed. They were so relieved.

I’ve spent years in this group, which meets weekly, building relationships. I wasn’t there to impose but just to be a friend. Each time my turn came around do give another presentation, I noticed the questions got a little deeper and more real. We had some interesting discussions among this group of Mormons, atheists, Christians, and agnostics. We hosted the annual picnic for the group at our house one year. Time invested and relationships built earned me the right to speak.

Story to be continued in tomorrow’s blog entry…