How will we know if we are accomplishing our mission? That everything about us (both actual and perceived) will be known for ONE thing: Jesus.
This means that people from our parish neighborhood actually are members here (they “walk” to church!). Now, there’s nothing more spiritual about living close to our church or walking to it. It’s great to have folks commuting in from other parts of the city, thus maintaining a “citywide” flavor as well. BUT, It’s just as strategic to have a growing number of people from the community making up the community church. So, whether you are here, downtown or Rogers Park, YOU are Addison Street Community Church. If that is true, then is the presence of Christ notably felt by your neighbors as they see you go to work, rake your leaves, buy groceries and engage with them past the usual niceties?
Being known for the “one thing” means that we should be a viable, reliable, and relevant source that people can turn to in times of personal crisis or national trouble. Will our parish neighborhood be looking to us for guidance and light? How else do they know that if it weren’t for the people?
Having property on Chicago’s north side for many Gospel-proclaiming churches is becoming both an advantage and a commodity. While buildings do not a church make (people do!), they are a helpful tool if they are used in the right way and communicate “the ONE thing”. A church building communicates not only visible presence and stability, but also it conveys values and an aesthetic. This goes far past whether we’re keeping the lawn cut, sidewalks salted and the mice away. Does our building signal to passersby and our neighbors that Jesus is the most singly important ‘thing’ here? Or, does it distract from that? Our building should simply support what we say is most important to us, and it should project something about the beauty and simplicity of our Gospel.
The ASCC mission is being accomplished more and more as our parish neighborhood no longer identifies us as the homey building on the corner or as a polling station or by flags but by actual Christians they know from here.