Fixing Ferguson [Blog]

ferguson shirtThere are currently complex issues in Ferguson, Missouri. Many government entities are working to bring peace and clarity. No one seems to know exactly what happened in the past. The day-to-day scenarios change by the minute, but there is one thing for certain. There is a future that needs to be shaped in a better way. Here is my suggestion for a better outcome—How about we plant some community impacting, Christ honoring, self-control teaching, vibrant, local churches? Ferguson needs local churches that move beyond, (way beyond!) the typical one day a week, isolated, us-four-no-more mentality. Churches certainly need to teach about the afterlife and how to be assured of getting there, but a Bible believing church is perfectly poised to teach about THIS LIFE as well. Christ taught us much about living amongst each other. Our churches need to effectively get involved in the community and teach these Bible truths as well. Here are a few suggestions on how a church can make a huge impact in its local community:

  • Conduct more non-Sunday, character-oriented, deep experience events. What I mean is, create events that are attractional to the community and more training oriented than teaching oriented. Get people involved in service projects, field trips, day camps, mission projects. Use every available teachable moment to build character in context. Influencing lives in real life scenarios are lessons that will stick!
  • Create events that take advantage of all ages. Save the age-graded stuff for a classroom somewhere, but use intergenerational trainers in on-the-job-training.  Use your creativity to create situations where Jr. High kids can help teach the Elementary kids; college kids can work with the teens and mature adults can work with the youth group age. Don’t forget to let the grandparents fill in the gaps with wisdom and practical lessons from life.
  • Focus on single parent families. According the Census Bureau, Ferguson has over 40% of its kids being raised by one parent. In a majority of these situations it is a single mom. Churches must alter and adapt their many programs to focus on this vital mission field. Readjusting schedules and getting creative in event planning, a church can become a trusted partner in rearing these kids.  Church events that are more like a family activity carry tremendous value.  Church events that are patterned after a school classroom need to reexamined.

The violence of Ferguson, as well as that in middle eastern countries, is not an education problem. More head knowledge is not the answer. I believe most of these issues could be treated with a healthy dose of self-control. If a person’s color, race, or country of origin sets you off, you have a serious self-centeredness problem. The greatest cure for self-centeredness is conversion and immersion. Convert to Christ-centeredness and immerse yourself into a dynamic, selfless body of believers called the local church. Ferguson doesn’t have as much of a race issue as it does a self-control issue. In fact, every community on our planet has the potential to explode with self-centered, violent activity. I cannot think of a better way to shape our community’s futures than to fill them with community impacting, Christ honoring, self-control teaching, vibrant, local churches.

Mike Holmes
@reachkeep

P.S. If you are of the persuasion that a church should only be doing spiritual activities like preaching, witnessing and disciple making, I urge you to implement some of the suggestions above. Your vans and busses will be full, your classrooms packed and you will get to do all the Gospel sharing and spiritual work you have ever wanted to do.

I am curious. What’s your plan for Ferguson? Leave your comment below.

 

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Mike Holmes

  • Phil Mitchell

    No less a scholar than Walter Russell Mead has said the same thing. He argues that the only hope for our inner cities is “religion” by which he means Christianity. Conversion to Christ and the body of Christ is the only hope for our troubled society.

    • But how can our churches have more influence? What working where you are?

      • Phil Mitchell

        I look at the history of the church. Christians simply being Christians–moving into the darkest places with the light of Christ and transforming the situation. The Roman Empire, a place of great evil and darkness, William Booth taking on the disaster of London and bringing his “salvation army” to bear on the plight of the masses of that city. How about D.L. Moody and the transformation God used him to bring about in Chicago and many other cities. I see the same transformation in China right now through the power of the Holy Spirit. I see the same thing happening in Carbon County, Wyoming. A few believers, yielded to the Lordship of Christ, and doing what such people have done in every era and place in history–transforming it.

  • Arnold J. Wiebe

    Everyone is talking about the men of the past and what they did. Yet what works in my experience is reaching out one to one to one to one. The problem with us is that we are far too comfortable to talk to our neighbors even when they speak the same language as we do, let alone when they speak Chinese or Spanish or some other language. I say we, it includes me. What is one of the blocks in speaking? Speaking to others requires that we now concentrate on living as Christ wants us to live. We must now watch what we do, what we think, what we say, what we look at (I did not say see), and what we listen to. How we drive is very important in this society, especially for those with any kind of bumper sticker or “ichthus” (the fish) or other religious symbols. You are always a witness, either for Christ or for Satan. One problem is that we think we know how to drive, yet if we would peruse the law (look through it) we would see how much we did not know, and how many important signs we miss every time we drive, and how we do not follow the markings on the road correctly. Can you know where a complex traffic light is in its cycle by observing the traffic and the light sequence as you approach it? Or are you distracted by the cell phone, radio, passengers, etc.? If we are easily distracted, how do we focus on our relationship with Christ? We piously say “Christ is the only hope,” but how will they know if they do not visibly and unmistakably see it in our lives? We must SHOW Christ to the world through ourselves, by how we act, react, and what we say. This is where it begins in Ferguson or any place. Christians being Christian. Obviously I need this as much or more than anyone else.

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