My wife and I began our journey outside the church walls and into the community back in 2013 and it’s been an amazing ride. We learned that in order to impact the community you must be the community. For us the biggest step to take was to enroll our children in the public school system and begin our journey as light in darker places. Amanda began a Moms In Prayer meeting with moms of other churches. Requests from teachers and families were coming in without even making a scene. This is how churches working together begin to change neighborhoods.
Quickly I was immersed as a spiritual leader on teams alongside our town mayor as well as county-wide officials. What I had dreamed of was coming into view: What if a church could be a valuable resource to its community?
In these past few years we have seen churches come together to start prayer groups for the school system, we’ve seen prayer vigils lead by multiple church leaders on behalf of great community needs. We’ve seen churches pooling resources to work alongside public school teachers, community-based celebrities, and government officials on things like reading camps and resources for children in some of the more challenging Paterson schools. Since the church cares about the community, the community increasingly respects the church, to the point in which the community accepts leadership from the church and allow its voice in the community.
May I dare put it this way: Seek first the Kingdom by being the community and the community will allow you to point to the Kingdom, and for a bigger impact still: make sure you love your brothers and sisters in the process.
Rev. Jim Bushoven
Rock Point Church, New Jersey