Missional Living in Knoxville, Tennessee
How can West Park make a significant and sustainable difference in the lives of people in Knoxville and the surrounding communities?
Perhaps we can:
Move from building walls to building bridges.
Will we remain outside of the community inviting people in or go to our community, seeking to be a transforming agent? The church is called to be separate in lifestyle but never called to be isolated from the people it seeks to influence.
Change from measuring attendance to measuring impact.
Would Knoxville weep if West Park were no longer part of the city? The question, “How big is your church?” should be replaced with “How big is the impact you are having on your community?” Every other measure is interesting but not relevant. If we are not making an impact outside of WP are we making an impact at all?
Encourage our congregation to attend church and equip them for works of service.
Tim Keller writes that the process of mobilizing members into ministers “starts by articulating clearly and regularly a theology of ‘every-member ministry.’” We must be communicating that everyone is a minister and that ministry is finding needs and meeting them to further God’s Kingdom.
Change from an inward to an outward focus.
Perhaps the single biggest factor in connecting people to West Park is not personal follow-up or joining a small group; it is being involved from the very beginning in service to others in the community.
Partner with existing ministries.
There is no reason to form a duplicate ministry if the service or ministry already exists and is effective in accomplishing its mission. Perhaps we can love our city with the love of Jesus through agencies and mechanisms that already exist!
Pray for our city.
We need to bless Knoxville and we need to pray for our city! The extent that we will impact Knoxville and the surrounding area will be proportionate to how effectively each influential segment of our community (educators, business, law enforcement, arts, civic leaders, human service agencies, etc.) are being prayed for.