When I was in late elementary school or earlier junior high, my community decided it needed a new playground. The community raised the money to pay for materials and to get the park designed. Then the community came out and built the park. My parents were actively involved in the project, my mom helped in the planning process and my dad in the construction process. I remember going up to the park and helping my dad screw boards into place. It was a powerful example of community. People from every socio-economic group and race came out to build the new community park.
Most of the time now, the most involved communities get in projects like this is voting on a bond issue. The city council or some community action group will do the planning, then get the tax payers to fork over some money to get professional builders to come in and build a park.
Let me be clear, my concern is not in the shifting way communities build parks…honestly I don’t really care that much how communities build parks, though I would enjoy helping build one again. No, I want to take that story and consider the church.
Professional staff is not a bad thing, just like paying a mayor, city manager, and other civic employees not a bad thing. What is a bad thing is when the only involvement from the church is voting on a bond issue…or in the case of the church a budget. When church members only contribute by paying the church tax then they are missing out on the power of community in the church.
I would argue too that most church members give their tithes like they pay their taxes, giving up as little money as conscience will allow. But back to the community issue. The contribution of the members of the body has to be more than giving money or occasionally volunteering. It has to be a lifestyle. Church has to be who you are not where you go. Only in Christian community can believers build the kind of church that will change their local community.