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Jul 01, 2004


Paul Marchbanks

Good morning! I thought that I’d post just a thought or two in response to Tim’s blogs on the Emerging Church initiative and the forms it might take. His entry yesterday sounds like a particular plan/recommendation is already coalescing, so what follows may end up being a bit irrelevant, depending on what that recommendation becomes. I’ll take the risk!

I’ve really been attracted to what Tim and others have expressed about reaching out to other local communities and ministries. While adjusting to Mark’s very different teaching style upon his introduction a few years ago, one thing that did immediately hook me was all his talk about inner-city outreach in the church he’d previously pastured. He painted a very colorful picture of a growing community that accepted and encouraged participation from individuals of all kinds of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. I think this kind of diversity to be very important, and you all obviously do too.

I’ve attended a number of churches in the last 15 yrs or so (in Wichita, Austin, Savannah, Temple TX, etc.) that have felt largely like country clubs. Very comfortable, beautiful people who have a vibrant worship and community environment within their building, but whose excursions into their nearby, often low-income neighborhoods are too infrequent and initiated by only a few. I love that CHBC has a solid connection with an African church. I love that we helped out with housing some of the homeless a few months ago. I love that Mark, Tim and others are pursuing connections with other Christian churches and traditions in the area. I’d love to see that spirit of community and outreach became a PRIMARY focus of CHBC, or at least of a good portion of its body.

I like some of the ideas I’ve been hearing: partnering with another church in Durham to expand outreach effectiveness, creating *lasting* programs in low-income neighborhoods, injecting some of ourselves (and our families & homes) into certain demographic areas so that we can replace door-knocking, 15-minute evangelism with daily, visible relationship building and sustained expressions of faith and love.

I can’t wait to see what you all are coming up with!

Love in Christ,

Briana Webster

I definitely agree with Paul. However, I feel as if we don't even have to go as far as Durham to accomplish this task. There are neighborhoods right here in our back yard that are in need of help. I believe that we need to try to grow to and reach out to our own neighbors before we focus our energies on other countries. Don't get me wrong, I think that that sort of outreach is wonderful and is a blessing to those we help, but I also know that there are things that we can do on a more local level, that are sure to have lasting results.

If we all just took a minute to look around ourselves we would see hudrends... even thousands of people in need of God's love. It is our responsibility as Christians to love them and show them the love of God. I know of many other churches in the area which have succeeded in this effort. I wish that we could learn from their example and make their accomplishments part of our own. Some of us need to step out of our comfort zone in order to fulfill a much greater reward. Yes, this would involve risk taking, but someone told me that if you aren't willing to take a risk, then you won't go anywhere.

I believe that we possibly need a position within the church that is specifically focused on local outreach, in fact there already could be one that I'm not familiar with. But, I just know that regardless, it takes much more than a few people to accomplish this type of task. If we, as an entire church body, really tried harder to love our neighbors, I know that the outcome would be great.

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