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Unignorable! | Classics Series

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The following blog is an installment in our Classics Serieswhere we revisit posts from days gone by. This blog was originally posted in December of 2017

Back in the day, churches generally speaking were essential to the American landscape. Sadly, that isn’t the case any more. I can give you a brief walking tour right in our own neighborhood of “ghosts of churches past.” The American Church is herself partially to blame for this malaise and the increasing closure of her doors.

Honestly, a church closes long before the real act when its members close the door to sound doctrine, care less about the lost souls around them while caring more about cultural relevance or preserving its past traditions. But, let’s consider: What is lost when a church closes its doors? Well, if it’s a theologically liberal church or an altruistic, religious group pretending to be a church, then nothing, thankfully. But more specifically, let’s ask: what would be lost if our church folded and was replaced by a house or condo building?

  1. There’d be one less spiritual home for the tenants of that new property and their neighbors
  2. A light of a “city on a hill” is extinguished, making the spiritual darkness even darker
  3. A moral and social conscience as well as a prophetic voice is silenced
  4. True service that actually helps the community’s needs vanishes

What else would you add?

Can you imagine the day when the bar owner, alderman’s office, local school councils or chambers of commerce and neighbors publicly insist on our church’s effective impact on the neighborhood? You might think: ‘Yeah, that’ll be the day.’ But don’t give up on the idea. It’s happened before in church history.

Pastor Tim Keller told of this: “When Julian, the last Roman emperor, tried to revive paganism, he built temples and spruced them up, but Christianity was spreading faster than he could compete with. In the midst of this, he wrote to a friend: ‘Nothing has contributed to the progress of the superstition of these Christians as their charity to strangers. The impious Galileans provide not only for their own poor but for ours as well.’ The early Christians were promiscuous with their charity.”

To sum up our series on what accomplishing the Addison Street Community Church mission would look like, in the end, we’d be considered a vital part of neighborhood identity and Jesus would be unignorable through the presence of his known people. This is a mission worth pursuing!

Posted by Will Pareja with

Known for One Thing | Classics Series

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The following blog is an installment in our Classics Serieswhere we look back at posts from days gone by. This blog was originally posted in December of 2017

 How will we know if we are accomplishing our mission? That everything about us—both actual and perceivedwill be known for one thing: Jesus.

This means that people within walking distance from our church neighborhood actually are members here. Now, there’s nothing more spiritual about living close to our church or walking to it. It’s great to have people 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 live here, downtown, or Rogers Park, you are Addison Street Community Church. If that's 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 casual conversation?

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 church 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 make a church—people do—they are a helpful tool if they are used in the right way and communicate and magnify the one thing—King Jesus. A church building communicates not only visible presence and stability but also conveys our 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 Addison Street Community Church mission is being accomplished more and more as our church neighborhood no longer identifies us as the homey building on the corner or as a polling station but by actual Christians they know from here. And Christians all share in their supreme love and devotion to one thing—Jesus Christ. He is our mission. He is our everything. 

Posted by Will Pareja with
Tags: mission

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