I was asked to meet with a large church planning team exploring ways to reach young people, (as one team member put it, "to get kids back to church.")
As I listened and affirmed their energy for this important project, I asked them to consider one question:
In what way could their exciting youth vision bless every young person in their town?
It was as if the initial, puzzled, looks then turned into sparks of connecting dots as the team looked around at one another. "Umm. We had never thought about that before. Could we do that?"
I came prepared with demographic data identifying the opportunities in their town, and the young people who deserved to experience God's love, as they had. I pushed a bit harder and asked:
What could result if your mission vision grew? Imagine if you became the place for kids in your town? If you authentically embraced that vision, then just about every other community asset that also cares about kids, would immediately become your partner. More resources could align to achieve your goal.
The conversation gradually scaled and they embraced a larger vision that could transform the entire community, including other churches, not just their church!
Reciprocal Revolution actions, like the youth initiative above, recognizes a larger view of mission, a balcony view of ministry, that is larger than the church. The worshipping community seizes the opportunities as community partners. Churches also have a responsibility to express gratitude in exchange for the town's support of the church (i.e., through property tax exemption). The spirit of reciprocity stimulates, and unleashes ways to reciprocate the blessing to include the priorities of the community, as well as the church.
Today, this congregation is crafting an audacious capacity-building youth initiative that will have an enormous impact on the community. Anticipating a line of credit from the presbytery, they can optimize their building to be a more welcoming and safe place for kids, ramp-up competent youth staff, and improve their online and social networking presence.
For this congregation, it's not about getting kids to their church, but improving and changing the lives of kids in their community, in the name of Jesus Christ.
How could you begin a Reciprocal Revolution in your community? I'd like to hear about it!