In case you haven’t noticed, there are hundreds of homes being built all around the church property. At night, on the hills to the west of us are covered with lights from homes. Five years ago, there were no streetlights in that area. On the south side of our property, more homes are being constructed. Take a look at these pictures! This home sits on the property line of Christ Church and more are being built. The skyline is to the west.
So, as I looked this home I wondered: Who will be living there? What type family might be occupying the rooms that make up this sizable home? Will the person living there be single? With children? Will there be a multigenerational family there? What will be the faith background of the occupants? What will be the stressors they face? What will be the joys they celebrate? Will they even notice that there is a church in their backyard?
What do we have in place that might fit the needs of the occupants? Will faith formation be important? Will they need medical or mental health resources? Will they be looking for a community where they can be safe and less anxious in an anxious world? What can learn from them? What resources might we share together? The possibilities are endless as are the questions.
The point is that our neighborhood is changing and growing. To be a community of faith that grows with the neighborhood, we have to be curious about who they are. We have to change because those around us are most likely people that bring in new ideas and new perspectives.
You see, I don’t think that the “church” is dying. I believe that the church is being awakened from a long sleep. The chapel of ease is dead—a place where folks show up—get something—and go home. That chapel of ease was never the church. The church—the Body of Christ—is a vibrant community that is curious about our neighbor and growing spiritually in order to tell the story of the Good News. More importantly, to live the story of the Good News.
I also think place is still important. Christ Church sits on a parcel of land that will be an oasis among homes and commercial buildings. What would it look like if seven days a week we had activity in our buildings and on our grounds? What would it look like if the worshiping and learning community looked like the neighborhood? It would look like the church.
Do we want to be a place where people are safe? Where people find meaning and community? Yes! And, when that happens, we will grow both numerically and spiritually. My prayer is that Christ Church is a prayerful community that embraces the Gospel which tells us to love and spread the Good News in Jesus Christ. Let’s build a gate on our fence and welcome with open arms those who are uprooting their lives to find a new home.