Empowering relationships. Community partnerships.
The word that most Christian institutions use to describe its service to the community and world is "mission". Most churches take "mission" trips which is typically a short-term trip to another place outside of their community. While others feel called to the "mission-field".
We don't have anything against the word "missions" but we do want to go deeper. We feel it is important to name that most of us who serve others get a "good" feeling when we do something good for someone else. Typically someone that we label as the "less fortunate" or the "needy".
The systemic problem becomes when what we call "missions" becomes more about "us and them". I have wealth, therefore, I can use my wealth to help the needy and the less fortunate. This never solves the underlying systemic issues that caused the problem in the first part. It even assumes that the person in the situation has made some bad decisions in their life and that is why they are in poverty.
We believe everyone is the beloved creation of God and has a story to tell. We want to lessen the divide between us and them. Mission to us means forming deep relationships, listening deeply, sharing stories, and building relationships and community.
I know why most churches would rather give a can of soup to a food pantry and feel good about it. And really that is the much easier thing to do. But it isn't what Jesus did. Jesus went to where people were, listened, and most of all empowered others.
This was the harder way.
Yet we believe the richness and sweetness of life don't come through short moments of serving and mission. But through shared community.
We also don't want to recreate nor work alone as we begin to listen to the stories of those in our community whose voices are silenced.
There is such great work that already is happening in Alamance county. People that are listening well and advocating for people who have no voice. We hope as a church to partner together in the shared beautiful work they have already started.