At his excellent website, Next Reformation, Len Hjalmarson reveals the story of a man who is making a difference in Windsor, Ontario. Bob Cameron left his comfortable suburban life to move into the inner city and establish the Downtown Windsor Community Collaborative. Hjalmarson quotes a portion of a feature story in The Windsor Star:
“Churches used to be at the center of the community culturally," said Cameron. "Now there are many voices at the center. We have to respond differently to people who no longer hear a sole voice.”
Though Cameron makes clear the DWCC is a faith-based organization, it’s neither a church nor is it exclusive of those who don’t share the core leadership group’s religious beliefs.
“We’re faith-based at the core, but folks who participate are everything from atheists to advocates,” Cameron said. “It’s a messy collaboration.
“Do we really need another Sunday service when there are 12 churches downtown already? What’s needed are folks leading through serving Monday through Saturday.”
Len then connects the dots for us. One of the keys to being a missional church is to be what Joseph Myers calls an “Organic Community.” In an organic, living, and vital community, we work for the common good, showing the goodness of Christ and his Kingdom. Len quotes Myers, who distinguishes what the missional leader is to do:
It would do us well to remember that our job is to help people with their lives rather than build infrastructures that help institutions stay alive. Sometimes we focus so much on building a ‘healthy church’ that we forget to tend to the health of the people. Healthy environments are vital – alive. They are not inanimate – dead. When places encourage community to emerge spontaneously, they have motion, emotion, and a living spirit. The goal is not to manufacture community, nor is the goal to build programs. The hope is to watch living community emerge naturally and to collaborate with its environment in helpful healthy ways.
As church leaders, how are we creating an environment for authentic community to grow organically, where people encourage each other to fully engage in the mission of God through their various vocations? How are we fostering authentic community where people give each other the courage to live radically for the Kingdom of God?