This weekend I spent some time with several people who live out daily life as “neighbourhood” Christians. They know their neighbours and have build deep lasting relationships with them by adopting practices of hospitality and making the persistent choice to live with and among their neighbours. This is no easy task! After a long day of work, church committments, and then barely getting supper together for your own family, how can we find time for fostering healthy relationships with other busy people on our street? Maybe we can learn a few lessons from those who are doing it well. Here are a few books, and better yet, a few local events that are helping ordinary church folks like you and me see our mission in a whole new light. The result is a movement of churches that are finding health in unexpected practices:
- Axiom Calgary is a two day missional training event put on by Forge Canada and was created to help leaders from churches and neighbourhoods find a path towards hope for the church in a changing context. The next Axiom event is November 11-12 at Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in Calgary and will be led by Karen Wilk, author of “Don’t invite them to Church” and Cam Roxburgh, the National Director of Forge Canada. Click here for more info.
- The Urban Forum is an exciting event happening in Calgary (Oct. 12) and Edmonton (Oct. 13) and it’s focus is to paint the theological and ‘how-to’ picture for local churches on how to be active participants in the building and transformation of their communities/parishes. You can find out more by clicking here. This is a great partnership between denominations and several para-church organizations.
- If you’re in Winnipeg from November 15-17, you may want to attend the big church planing congress (The Congress) put on by Church Planting Canada. It’s about more than church planting, but about how church leaders are reclaiming the missionary call in our neighbourhoods. Exciting stuff!
- Karen Wilk wrote a great book written from her own experiences doing neighbourhood life in Edmonton. The book is called “Don’t Invite them to Church: Moving from a Come and See to a Go and Be Church.”
- Alan Roxburgh has written a number of good books on the missional church, but he turns a new corner to talk about the neighbourhood in “Missional: Joining God in the Neighbourhood.” Below is a short video about that book.
The important thing for us is that the future of the church does not rest in how well we run programs or fill our church calendars, but in how we incarnate the love of Christ in our neighbourhoods and help equip our churches to live this out in real ways.
I remember hearing the late Joe Aldrich speak about “friendship evangelism” that hit some similar points. I look forward to checking out Karen’s book.