24 Jul Moving In!
I’ve been running with my kids for six years. Our runs are a time for us to catch up and hear what’s going on in each others’ lives. Recently, we were out running, and I started thinking through a bunch of things–our new house, unpacking, building friendships, and everything going on at United. I was with my kids, but not listening or engaged in the conversation. So, when one of them said, “I failed my math test today,” I said “Cool.” Not my best moment as a dad.
How do you think it makes my kids feel when I’m not present? Like they are not as important to me? Like I don’t care about them or value them?
When I think about why people don’t go to church, I think it is often for this very reason. They don’t think the church cares about them because the church isn’t engaged or present in their lives.
We want the people of Owings Mills to know that the church cares about them and is for them. That is why we say, “We are #UnitedFOR.” We’re United for you. For the schools and businesses in Owings Mills. For our neighbors. And, for this community.
This brings us to our second culture-shaping value: Community engagement.
Looking at the life of Jesus, this is something that characterized everything he did. One of Jesus’ closest friends said this about him: “And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14).
He moved into the neighborhood and spent time with people, healed those who were sick, and served others. He showed them he was for them and offered them the most incredible gift–the chance to connect to God and have a relationship with him.
And, where did he do all of this? He went from restaurant to restaurant, school to school, party to party, bar to bar, house to house, festival to festival, to serve others. United is moving into the neighborhood in the same way Jesus did–by being present and engaged and showing people we are for them.
Here’s the question I always ask: “If United left Owings Mills, would people notice?” I don’t ask this because our goal is to be missed or for people to think we’re great; but, because we want to serve and love like Jesus.
And if we are doing that, we would be missed if we left.