All churches know what their church role should look like (more active members, right?), but many churches seem uncertain about what their community role should look like. In other words, the “Big C” Church seems uncertain about its role or purpose outside its walls. This is certainly reflected in broader culture, which is dismissive of or at least unsure about the Church’s role in changing times.

As Donald Miller of StoryBrand fame says, “If you confuse, you lose.” We need to clarify our roles in our communities and then clearly communicate those roles through word and action. Here are four roles of a church in its community:

  1. The Light. Matt. 28:16-20
  2. The Heart. Matt. 5:16
  3. The Conscience. Matt. 5:13-16
  4. The Guide. Jer. 29:7

Key Takeaways.

  • Our culture is perhaps not hostile, but it is at least unfamiliar to many Christians. Sometimes, churches and Christians act like a city boy on a camping trip. This will not do.
  • We perhaps don’t need a strategy for engaging our communities. Perhaps we need a new posture. Here’s Matt Chandler in his new book Take Heart: Christian Courage in the Age of Unbelief: “Given our bent toward fear in this cultural moment, I’m convinced that we don’t need another new strategy, necessarily, for engaging culture but, instead, a renewed posture of courage…If we have a God-sized, God-given courage, then we will be freed up to be the people of God, living out the mission of God, marked by the joy of God. With courage, this season of history can be viewed not with fear and trepidation, but instead with hope and a sense of opportunity. With courage, our perspectives turn, and we can be excited and encouraged about our circumstances and not intimidated, angered, or paralyzed by them.”
  • “The Church is eternal and shall not retreat. In the present age, she stands ‘not at the boundaries where human powers give out, but in the middle of the village.’”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer