Conventional wisdom is that congregations do not grow in numbers if they engage in social action. It is a belief that has been as an excuse to disengage from the world around them, lest someone be offended. There is a very recent challenge to this belief.
According to the Church Times, Sept. 2 as picked up in the Christian Century last year, “An Anglican study, Church Growth in East London is more about attitude than theological or liturgical tradition. It challenges the notion that only evangelically oriented congregations using contemporary forms of worship can grow. The churches that engaged in the most social action attracted the largest number of new Christians.”
The reason to engage in social action is to be faithful in following Christ. A happy by-product can be numerical growth. Curious, that the growth is among new Christians. Perhaps these new Christians are attracted to the same message that motivated the early followers of Jesus and the early church; the kingdom of God is in you and at hand. Building the kingdom of God is the vocation of every Christian and that means engaging the world around us.
At FCC Pomona, we engage in social action because it is one of the many ways we extend God’s compassion through the work of solidarity, justice and empowerment. ICON (Inland Communities Organizing Network) is the primary vehicle we engage in the hands on mission of justice and empowerment.
On April 26th, many of our ICON leaders will gather once again to support the passage of a ban on new waste and recycling facilities in Pomona, including the expansion of existing businesses beyond their agreed upon conditional use permit. With over 24 of these facilities in the city, we believe it is paramount to be in solidarity with our neighbors who work and live near these facilities.
Jesus understood the power of community in his ministry in Galilee. Through the building of relational power we are expanding the work of God’s compassion in our place and time.
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