It was about three years ago that I felt God ask me the question “If Vineyard Church closed the doors tomorrow would anyone in our community know or more importantly would anyone care?” It was a sobering moment to say the least. From that time we have, as a community of faith each year continued to ask ourselves this question.
My good friend and mentor Dave Workman (www.vineyardcincinnati.com) has always encouraged me to dig deep to find truth, we have talked many times on how stories are easy to find but truth not so easy. In the culture of social networking I’m concerned that we (The Church the BIG C) are creating a culture of spin and self promotion and avoiding the truth which is ultimately the life blood of the Church – mission is why the Church exists.
Confession time, I’m a sucker for Facebook and just recently signed up to the newest, brightest and better ‘foursquare’ (you wanna be my friend?). I join causes and accept some invitations but can’t help but conclude that it’s a heck of a lot easier to sign up to ‘attending Jesus birthday party’ than being incarnation Christianity. When we hit the 1 million target of invited guests we give ourselves a pat on the back or a virtual high 5 instead of walking out the Christmas message of hope through our towns and communities.
I’m more and more convinced that it’s your community that will give the signals of what how good we are really doing at being the Church and not self promotion on our status updates on facebook and twitter. It’s those outside of our meetings and networks that give a sign, an alert. If the local church is in the business of seeing lives changed then we need to know what are the signs in our community; is it broken marriages, is it teenagers who are self harming, is it lives being wasted by addiction, what’s our sign, where is our favour?
I’m learning that our job is simply to discern what those on the outside of our churches are saying to us regarding the dreams that we have for the community. Don’t be fooled by believing our own hype but let’s get courageous and honest to go and find the truth.