Too often, churches seek impractical methods to reach people with the love of Christ. Not always, but too often.
Richard Beck writes about that in one of his latest posts. He writes that his church was looking for ways to create a “third space” that would serve to be an outreach to the community. The church was strongly considering opening a coffee shop while Richard’s idea was to open a laundromat. Read the whole post at his Web site. It’s encouraging, heart-changing, and inspiring.
Let’s consider this idea of loving practicality as part of this month’s series on looking at how God’s love and social justice collide.
As a church, opening a bookstore or coffee shop or any similar store doesn’t fully meet the needs of the community. As Beck points out, you’re only reaching those who can afford a four-dollar cup of specialty coffee. What about those who can’t?
Coffeeshops bring a certain clientele that benefits the church as much as the church benefits them. They bring in dollars, and the church offers spirituality. There’s no denying that church coffee shops don’t fully meet the needs of the community even if you believe this is a harsh characterization of them.
What practical approaches to a “third space” better meet the needs of your community?
In Beck’s community, refugees and the poor would have had their practical needs met by a laundromat. In meeting the practical needs of our communities, we are expressing Christ’s love in a more tangible manner.
Would a highly subsidized daycare system or a less expensive “Mothers Day Out” program at your church allow for working, single mothers to save some money and better understand the love of Christ?
Would a church food bank offer similar opportunities for families to stretch their dollar further? Would a church house cleaning outreach open doors for a poor family to enjoy a clean home and a clean heart towards Christ?
In meeting people’s practical needs, we open the door to meet their spiritual needs and take one step further in creating multi-ethnic unity in church.
Write ideas in your journals as you’ve been following along in our series. Share them with us in the comments below.