Being known as:

Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, MI is desiring to be a church living outside the walls. They are committing to three things right now, three ways to make a significant difference. So here are the three things they want to do:

1. “We believe that every kid in West Michigan should have food and shelter.” So they are identifying 20 kids to help, to try to figure out how to help. Because they are asking, “What would it be like to be known as the church who takes care of kids?”

2. “We believe the poor in Grand Rapids should be given a chance to earn a living.” So they are identifying 50 of the poorest families and sharing training, microfinance and lives with them to lift them above the poverty line. Because they are asking, “What would it be like to be known as a church that cares about the fundamental needs of the people around them.”

3. “We believe that the worldest poorest people deserve a chance to help themselves.” So they are partnering with a group in Burundi, East Africa, to help 4000 families to have a solid roof, to have all of their school-age kids in school, and to help with microfinance.

To listen to the description of this project, go here and click on the message for February 18, 2007 (This will be good for about a month more).

And as I sit amidst the books in our office at home and I think about the messy garage needing my cleaning and the other clutter in my brain, I am trying to think and understand this cluster of questions: What should I as a Christ-follower be known as? What should my service in church be moving toward? What could the churches in our city be known for? What should the commentaries on my shelf push me toward?

What Mars Hill is trying to understand is this: If Christ in us makes any difference that really matters, what does that look like?

A worthy question.

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2 responses to “Being known as:

  1. I love the way Mars Hill has asked the questions, then has actively answered them. Sometimes we let the questions land with a thud, unanswered, because we can’t give the all-inclusive answers–if they had realized they couldn’t help all the children in West Michigan and then had given up at that point, twenty kids would be less-blessed and less-helped. That last question needs to be on the walls of my heart…moment by moment. (BT We happened to be at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids the day they commissioned–is it Rob Bell?–for the start of Mars Hill–so cool to see what an impact that body has made for Christ in the Grand Rapids area in the years since then!

  2. I like what Mars Hill is doing. There’s lots of good stuff coming from there. We’ve used Rob Bells videos for some of our spiritual discussion groups here in Cyprus.

    One thing I’m still processing as a lot of ’emergent’ churches move this direction is the role of faith. While I appreciate what they’re doing, I don’t see much evidence in what I’ve been exposed to that there is much of a concern for the spiritual dynamics that underlie many of the social problems they’re addressing.

    There’s a lot of talk in these circles of defining the church in terms of it’s mission – especially to the poor – and our responsibility to continue the work of Christ as he did. I’m still processing whether or not I agree that our mission is what makes us Christian. There are pros and cons both ways.

    What do you think?