Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

30 September 2010

So last night I got to chat with 8 people who might be the mayor about the Church

I almost ran for city council this year. At one point I was at least 60/40. As with everything I do, I pray about it AND I make sure that it's the right strategic move to accomplish the bigger picture goal.

In this case, it wasn't. As a macro-thinker, I walked it through and came to the conclusion that the goal for this election... was to bring the church (The BIG C one city church) to the table in city's decision making process. And last night, we hosted Brantford's first ever online and interactive mayoral discussion where one of the questions we asked the candidates was, "What role does the church have in Brantford's future" and (based on a chat room question) wound up dialoging about how the church can establish it's credibility and be best utilized in our city.

It was an amazing night. You can read a story in the Brantford Expositor called "Election gets a little religion" here and one in the Brant News by Sean Allen called "Freedom House hosts debate" here.

Why is this even an important issue? It's partially because The Church is just coming out of a very dark season of the public's perception of irrelevance due to a lamentably real community ineffectiveness and inactivity. And it's mostly the church's own doing. But because of it, the practical and spiritual role The Church is supposed to play in making a community great, has been taken away by other people & groups or neglected and disregarded altogether. And in some cases... forgotten about. The knee-jerk reaction some have when the church becomes involved in the public forum ranges from apprehension to direct aversion.

But that was then and this is now. I can only speak to Brantford firsthand, but churches are beginning to finally GET that together we can make a difference. A massive difference actually.

The reality is that there are now MANY churches in a city (1 church really as we're all motivated by the same God) who represent organized groups who are being fueled by the idea of changing the city BY good INTO good. These mobilized groups are ready to get calls saying, "We need a team to take on project xyz in the city" and they are anxious to do it. That's not something that you can find everywhere. It's a strong benefit of organized institutions of people committed to serving together.
It's one of the reasons why the trendy, hippie, solo-indie Christian life is hollow shell of a functional faith. It's doable, but so is living on a desert island by yourself. In the end, you don't accomplish much and you end of having a volleyball for a friend.

Why are the
Shriners, Moose Lodgers, or Jaycees so effective? Because they are of like mind, in unity and TOGETHER are motivated by a cause and ready to act sacrificially as a team. Small groups can do big things. Imagine what BIG groups can do?

Just last night, many issues were brought up by the leaders. Like committees being undermanned because of a lack of volunteers. Like civic events being understaffed. Like the marginalized being under-cared for. Like there being a need for emergency response action. The Church CAN fill many of these needs... so it SHOULD. Why?
Because there are A LOT of us and Jesus wants us to show people love in practical ways.

The number of people who are affiliated with a Church or faith is a large large number. Maybe more by percentage than any other specific group in the city. As a church leader, we've been working at reminding and waking up the church to be active and meet needs in our community. And serving, giving, kindness... it's a part of the God-package. As a leader in general, if 25% of the population came and said, "we're organized into groups who are ready to serve the vision of the city and make it a better place," I'll tell you something, I'm taking that deal.

Jesus taught us to be generous, motivated people who care about their neighbor enough to invest in each other.
Churches/people of faith HAVE TO get involved and serve. If they don't, they aren't being true to their full purpose and foundation. It's one of the factors that led to their perceived irrelevancy in the first place!

In this dialogue, it's not about religion being pushed on others. It's about the church being a part of the community. And a significant part of the community. Without the empowerment of the whole community, the state is the boss. Government facilitates the prosperity of the people in the community by empowering and creating opportunities for individuals to flourish.

Check out the recordings of last night... I hope you find it as interesting as I did!

Watch live streaming video from freedomhousetv at livestream.com

Part 2

Watch live streaming video from freedomhousetv at livestream.com

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