A recent study on friendship and relating initially revealed fifty ways people become friends. After analyzing those fifty ways, it was found that they could all be reduced to two different styles of relating: Boundary Set and Center Set.
A Boundary Set is one in which people have a common or same boundary. For example, if one Baptist meets a Baptist from another location, they can relate right away based on the Baptist boundary. If I’m in Kampala, Uganda, and meet another American, we can relate immediately based upon the fact we are both from America. We have a common boundary.
A Center Set is one in which a cause or a person is esteemed higher than established boundaries. For example, many years ago, armies from several nations came together to liberate Kuwait from Iraq. A cause higher than national boundaries brought the armies together against a common foe. Churches coming together to reach a city for Jesus, is a perfect example of Center Set! The relationship is based on a cause or person higher than each individual church or its’ boundary.
In my opinion, God is moving churches and pastors to being both Boundary Set and Center Set! All over the world, pastors and church members are beginning to realize that there is the church as well as my church. It’s fine to focus your attention on your church as long as it’s not to the exclusion of the church.
I recently met a pastor in San Nicholas, Argentina who has two communions on Sunday, one for his local church members and one for Christians from other churches in his city! He has a Boundary Set as well as a Center Set relationship with the people, pastors and churches in his city. He is creating space in his church for people who attend other churches as well his church.
Believe it or not, your church needs the church. You, your church, your denomination or your movement is just a small thread in a huge tapestry that God has been weaving for two thousand years in order to present a more perfect picture of Christ to the world.
Several years ago, there was a study done on the types of businesses in America. It was found that eighty percent of the businesses were sole proprietorships, ten percent were partnerships, and ten percent were corporations. It was also found out from the same study that ten percent of the businesses, corporations, produced ninety percent of the sales and profit.
Never underestimate the power of cooperation that empowers a corporation which comes from being Center Set. The church could learn a lesson from that. Christ is what brings the church together. Christ is the Center Set. Christianity is about Christ, not us. We are a tread, not the whole tapestry.
II Cor. 6:1 says, “And working together with Him (Jesus), we also urge you to not receive the grace of God in vain.” God is revealing to the church all over the world today not only an “a church” mentality but also a “the church” mentality. We’re beginning to see that it’s not good for man, a pastor, a church, or a denomination to be alone! Why should we walk alone when we can stand together?
Center Set…welcome to the bigger world of the tapestry.
Church-Community Connection is published weekly in 10 newspapers all over the world. Most of these newspapers are local paid subscription newspapers. The goal of these 450 word articles is to build a bridge to the community through humor, wisdom and changing mental perceptions that the community has of the church.