Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from Mission Summit Conversations (June 2013)

  • Insights
    • The church too often operates from a paradigm of getting the community into the church rather than one of getting the church into the community.
    • There simply is no way for the church to reconnect with its neighborhood and/or community context unless it discerns where God is already at work and begins to be part of what God is doing.
  • Challenges
    • Focusing on the advancement of God’s Kingdom rather than on the welfare of the local church.
    • In order to connect with people, the church needs to value people as God values them and see people as God sees them.
    • Finding reciprocity in receiving as well as giving.
    • Changing the church’s attitudes from being insulated and inward looking to external and outward serving.
    • How can the gospel become relational, incarnational, and prophetic?
  • Experiments
    • How can we spend time with people in our neighborhoods?
    • One church installed a basketball hoop in parking lot. Neighbors are now crossing boundaries to play ball together.
    • Example: a church started a food pantry and found that few people came to it. Rather than assuming there was no one in town who needed food, they chose to go looking for people who did. Each Saturday they would fill bags with groceries and take them door to door in a nearby trailer park. Besides handing out food, they would ask if there was anything they could pray for. The next week they would check back to see how things were going and a relationship would begin. Eventually a Bible study was started in the trailer park.

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from the Mission Table (November 2013)

  • Insights
    • The church (body of Christ) must be active in their neighborhoods.
    • The mind-set must change from church growth to a desire to build authentic relationships with those who are our neighbors.
    • The work of Christ in the neighborhood is not limited to what the church is doing.
  • Challenges
    • Success must be redefined – not how many end up sitting in our pews but how faithful we are in carrying out the true purpose of the church.
  • Experiments/Projects
    • The neighborhood has a great deal to offer us if we will just go into it.
    • Playing football on the grass around the building may be as close as some will get to a church building.

Read the full notes:

Mission Summit Conversations:

Mission Table:

Views expressed are the sole opinion of conversation participants. They do not express the views of American Baptist Churches USA, or individual American Baptist churches. Conversation notes and summaries are shared to allow American Baptists and friends to easily review and use these Mission Summit Conversations and the Mission Table learnings as they wish.