When I was growing up, if I wanted to play football I had to go out into the neighborhood and put together a team. Playing ball was a neighborhood sport. Not so anymore. Consider the following.
Today most children who want to play football are driven to an organized program that may consist of children from all across the city. Children develop friends from many neighborhoods.
Or consider this: today children go online and play games with children all over the world.
So who is our neighbor? It sure isn’t just our immediate neighborhood (one exception is the inner city, where kids are forced to spend their lives in the immediate area due to economics).
The world is our neighborhood. The Internet has changed every rule of the game of communication.
This past week alone I have received over a dozen emails from people living outside the U.S. – Guatemala, South Africa, Ghana, Switzerland… and this doesn’t count the communication via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
The world being our neighborhood has profound effects on churches wanting to expand God’s Kingdom. Consider churches that have satellites in more than one city, state, and nation. The world is their neighborhood.
Now more and more people are attending church via the Internet within the privacy and comfort of their own home. Some even attend with a friend in the area or with someone across the ocean. It doesn’t matter where you are if you attend worship virtually.
Still, most mainline leaders think of the neighborhood church as one confined to a small geographical area. No wonder mainline churches are declining.
Most established mainline churches were originally located 500 ft. from where they should have been planted. It didn’t matter if you could see them from a main street; you lived in the neighborhood and either walked or drove past it on your way to home. Then came the freeways, allowing people to go to just about any part of any size town in less time than it would take them to walk to the grocery store.
I could go on but you get my drift. We live in a big world, and as such, we need a big vision. How big is your vision?
Question: How does the concept of the world as our neighborhood change your paradigm for ministry? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.