Paul Bartlett, along with his wife Annette, are the senior pastors of the Lighthouse Church in Wollongong. Paul’s passion is to encourage churches to engage in their communities. He believes churches should be less focussed on their members and be more concerned about those outside the church. The title, Thank God it’s Monday, comes from the idea of being excited about who God wants us to interact with during the working week, rather than being totally focussed on our Sunday services.
Paul writes about community engagement with a great deal of passion, but sometimes repeatedly. When he took over the leadership of Lighthouse, he was concerned about the mind set of waiting for the weekend so Christians could be ‘spiritual’. He wanted to turn this attitude around so the congregation would recognize they could be spiritual in the places where God had placed them strategically during the week as his representatives. This change in emphasis has grown the church and Paul hopes it will also grow other churches. While Paul did include some examples from congregational members, I found them too general to be helpful.
Lighthouse is a large church in a large metropolitan area, so has many opportunities to be involved in community activities. Smaller churches in smaller towns have less opportunities, but are often better networked. However they face other challenges, such as an aging congregation, difficulties with musicians, and creating a service that newcomers would be interested in attending. All of which makes community engagement more challenging for these churches.
Overall an interesting read, though not particularly relevant to my situation.