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The Progression of the Church from a Christian Fellowship to a Community Church to a Church for the Community.

The Church is in transition again. If we aren’t aware we can be left behind becoming yesterday’s church today which frustrates everyone including the pastor. Let’s take a look at tomorrow’s church today. Let’s discover how to be ahead to the community rather than behind it. Come to the meeting we are having and receive a Revelation Revival…get a new ‘mindskin’ that can create a new wineskin…a church for the community.

I am a native of Phoenix, Arizona, USA, and have served in three different churches in the Phoenix area. The churches are Grace Community Church in Tempe, Northwest Community Church in Phoenix and Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Phoenix. I was the senior pastor of Hosanna Christian Fellowship when it started in 1987. Hosanna grew very quickly from 36 people to services of over 1000 in a few years. We had a very strong influence in the Phoenix Metro for over a decade.

The problem with Hosanna was that we were a “Christian fellowship.” We experienced high growth but it was all transfer growth.

At the height of our numerical growth and influence, God gave me a vision or prophetic statement. Here is what He made completely clear to me in a statement I could identify with. “Trade in your Corvette and get a minivan.” Being a former national record holder in drag racing, I could identify with that. As a Christian fellowship all we were doing was “drag racing” other churches around town. We only had two seats in our “Corvette.” We were fast but barren. God wanted our church to get married and have our own spiritual children, to grow a family and thus grow through conversion growth.

That started us on a journey toward my second book, Church @ Community. The idea is since the community is not coming to church, the church has to go to the community. We were to make insider information, outsider information. After all, salt can’t flavor what is doesn’t touch. We were blessed to be a blessing, not hoard a blessing. There will be no transformation without incarnation. A servant will go where theology won’t. In other words, if they can’t see us, they won’t be us.

Let me conclude by saying this. We feel there are three basic types of churches. First of all, there are Christian fellowships. They tend to be upward and inward but struggle at outward. They are fellowships, a bunch of Christian fellows in the same ship. Then, there are community churches. A community church tends to take from the community but not give anything back to the community. They are a bubble of activity but not effective in making communities better. Lastly, and this is what we at Nationstrategy believe in, there is the church for the community. A church for the community is involved in the community. They are raising up tomorrow’s leaders today for the community. They understand that they are here for the community, not the other way around.

Our mission to churches is to help churches grow by growing their community. We create a new dimension in connecting the church and the community by strategically uniting faith in culture. We help them to both evangelize and civilize, producing a Godly influence in their community, and favor with God and man. We create a church-community connection. Incidentally, the potential for conversions to Jesus are staggering. If churches would engage the community in real and tangible ways, which is God’s primary pattern, you can turn the world right side up!

At the end of the day, all we want to do is envision and empower you to the not just church leaders but leaders in the community. We are people who empower people to transform communities.

 

Ed Delph

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