Program is an insufficient word for what this church does
By Jeff Campbell
The Rev. David McCue doesn’t talk about a discipleship program at Colville Community Church in Colville, Washington. He doesn’t talk about it because, in his words, there isn’t one. No program.
What they do is change culture by intentionally looking at how they can adapt to meet the needs of their community. They do that by looking outside their walls – both the church’s and their own – and forming relationships with people.
Funny, but that is just how discipleship happens!
Rev. McCue and his people have determined four things allow them to meet people where they are and then “love them into the church.”
Let me share with you, in his own words, his strategy about what to look for:
1) Common Ground: He has made his home amongst us, so that his experience and ours are fundamentally the same. This common ground that he formed with us is how the scriptures help us understand the journey of faith that we must take-from not comprehending God until we know him through a personal relationship. We, as Christians, make our homes amongst those who don’t know him so that they might see him – through us.
2) Soft Difference: Jesus welcomed those who needed a savior and removed the barriers that separated them. We need to break down barriers that must be crossed for newcomers to come to Christ. This does not mean that we do not stand for our beliefs, rather that those beliefs do not form a harsh barrier between us and those whom God is still wooing into a deeper relationship.
3) Making Room: Jesus made room for his disciples to join him in his work, first by inviting, then by mentoring them, and finally by releasing them to ministry. An attitude of welcome is more than saying hello. It is in every aspect of church life. This does not mean that we will compromise the Gospel, but that we will examine all aspects of our community life with an eye toward including people.
4) Being the Change: Jesus was radically different than anyone who came before him. It was not enough that he said he was different, but that he made us different through his relational contact with us. Now we are on display as God’s way to be human, and we must live differently, visibly.
How I expect current leaders to work toward these concepts:
1) Imperfection. We will not expect perfection. In fact, because we live on earth we should expect imperfection. We won’t mind problems, rather we will seek to work the issue and grow through the process.
2) Attitude. A church family is as much about an attitude in service as it is about the procedural concerns. We could do all the “right” things and be wrong because the attitude with which we do them, Instead we will seek to work together in a gracious spirit.
3) Education. Wherever possible, teachers should seek to identify an assistant or substitute and then assist in their further development as leaders.
4) Worship. We will seek to include more people into participation in the service by working to avoid practices that prevent involvement.
Rev. McCue believes that one’s availability is paramount in serving. Anyone who asks to do a job gets to do it. Of course, a job may be fitted to correspond with the volunteer’s age and ability, but it’s still encouraged.
One 10-year-old girl wanted to “help with church.” She was given the responsibility of helping stuff the activity bags for preschoolers to use during church. After helping for a while, she now is in charge of deciding what goes in the bags and preparing them for the little ones.
Another little girl wanted to help with communion. She joined the pastor and helped serve. Another time, everyone serving communion was under 14. They did a good job and took it very seriously.
Children and youth at Colville Community are as much a part of the church and its work as the adults. “They are not the church of the future. They are the church right now.”
Rev. McCue believes there are two ways to do church: the Country Club way where it’s more of a by invitation only, people who look and act like us endeavor, or the Right Way, where we understand that everyone is a brother or sister because they are born of Jesus.
“We don’t uninvite the people who Jesus has invited,” Rev. McCue said. “He has invited them, so we welcome them.”
Are you interested in participating in One Matters? Contact Jacqui King by email at [email protected], or by phone at 615-340-7295. Learn more about the One Matters Discipleship Award.