There are two general postures a church can take in its local community – either “withness” or “themness”.
The “themness” posture says, “WE are here to help THEM. We are here to help THEM because without US, they would be in big trouble.” Sometimes churches get very excited about changing, fixing or serving the world. Often this a good thing, but sometimes it can be threatening, or perceived as arrogance. In our post-Christian, postmodern era, the “we have all the answers and we’re here to rescue you” kind of posture is difficult for culture to track with.
I’m not saying the church doesn’t have something valuable to say or contribute. We are witnesses to the greatest story ever told aren’t we? And besides, God has sent us to love and serve and share the good news with the world. So please, don’t get me wrong.
But what if we changed our posture? What if we sometimes took on a “withness” posture? This posture says, “WE are here to work WITH you to create something great.” Would that change the dynamic of our relationship with our local community?
I mean, who would you rather work with? Someone with a “themness” posture or a “withness” one? Ever participate on a work team project with someone who had all the answers to every problem?
A couple of weekends ago (June 22-23), I was able to see a lot of “withness” ooze from the pores of our Crosspoint church community. We had the privilege of participating in the Northeast Community Summer Festival in northeast Edmonton. This festival has been operating for multiple years and this is Crosspoint’s third year helping out. The festival is organized by people representing a number of community organizations. Two of our staff members served on this team and many of our people volunteered during the weekend.