What do people in your community care about?
What are their values?
What are their aspirations?
What are their hopes?
What are their goals?
What are their needs?
What are their interests?
What are their challenges?
Where do they experience joy?
Where do they experience belonging?
Where do they find deep community?
How do they experience isolation and loneliness?
What occupies their thoughts?
What are they worried about? Hopeful about?
Who is listening to them? Are we?
In his book, Agile Church, Dwight Zscheili shares about a recent meeting with church planter from England who said he was always struck in America by how the conversation about ministry and mission was primarily about church; in the UK, there isn’t enough church left to talk about, so one must talk about culture. We have a tendency to address the church’s challenges by focusing on the church’s internal life – it’s programs, events, activities, strategies, etc. – without asking the basic question about whether any of it has significant intersection with God’s larger world, without asking, “who really cares?” Or perhaps more convicting – “do we?”
Maybe in the midst of our weekly conversations about the latest ministry plans, strategy, and programming we should intermittently pause, look at one another and ask, “yeah, but, who really cares?” If the answer to this question mostly revolves around the people who are already “insiders,” that is, engaged, involved, invested in ministry, then we might need to hit the reset button and re-orient ourselves to what God is doing in the world.
The great news is that what we say and believe Christ offers – joy, hope, forgiveness, mercy, grace, freedom, community, love, resurrection life, and more – are all things that people do really care about. Why would we offer anything else?