07 January, 2006

Practical Familyhood

Over at Cerulean Sanctum, Dan asks:
Any single moms and dads out there who need someone to watch your kids so you can have a date or just some time to yourself? Are there any elderly people who have housework they just can't do because they can't find anyone with a few hours and a strong back to do it? Anyone with a special needs child who is looking for a friend for that child? Any prisoners who need someone to send you hard-to-get Christian materials? How can we Christian bloggers serve you?

As for us bloggers, we could start by putting together a Google map that places each of us and our respective churches on the map. From there we could start directing people to places they can get the help they need. If someone needs a Christ-honoring church, we could direct them to a blogger. That blogger could then pair up with him/her/them at the blogger's church and start making a difference to real people. This is just one way that we bloggers could meet a pressing need. Millions more exist.

Having only had this blog up for a couple of weeks, I have not posted on this yet, but I believe there's a practical way to answer that need. I would not modify Dan's suggestion at all, except to say that a normal, modern church probably cannot do what he is suggesting.

If it existed, a Familyhood Church would be a Christian body comprised of everyone that lives in a given neighborhood. Nobody drives across town. Everyone knows everyone, and deals with their neighbors/brothers outside of the 4 walls of a church. They know each other's daily at-home struggles.

Outreach to the neighborhood is a slam dunk.

2 things are needed to make this work.
1) Prepare the Familyhood Church to serve.
  1. First, start a Familyhood Church (Still working on this one).
  2. Collect a list of skills held by the members.
  3. Create a way of requesting help easily.
    It's no fun to call a stranger to ask for help as a mechanic. But, if there was a number you could call for generic "neighborly" help, it would be less threatening.
  4. Publish our availability.
    Yard signs, posters at well-traveled intersections, neighborhood advertising newspapers, etc.

2) Do exactly what Dan suggests. Create a way to link churches to local resources.

Most church membership rolls are spread across a vast area, with only one or two people in each neighborhood. I just don't think that will work. When the first step to helping someone is driving across town, it's harder to get started. And when you do manage to get someone to drive across town to provide the needed help, it's still tougher to keep that connection alive over time.

I am a mechanic by former trade, so let me focus on that for a second. If helping someone means driving 2 blocks, it's easier to just throw a couple tools in the truck, and see what I need when I get there. I don't need to bring tools for 50 possible problems if I can narrow the problem down, and get what I need after I get started. The easier it is to help someone, the more likely I will do it! I can usually bring their car to me, and have all my tools available. And when the fix is done, I will be able to wave at him every morning for the next couple years. I won't have to make a special trip or phone call to make contact with him every month or two to remind him to visit a church somewhere.


Dan Edelen said...

Hey, I'm totally on board with the familyhood church idea.

Thanks for the link to my post at Cerulean Sanctum.

Kansas Bob said...

Families are a bit messy ... better make sure that Familyhood Church is built on a foundation of everyone loving each other ... that is why family members stick together even when things get really messy :)

codepoke said...

Amen, kansas bob.

If we fail in this, we will be in good company - that of the Corinthians, Phillipians, and Galatians to name a few.

Paul, John, and Peter all spend much more time reminding the children of God to love each other than they spend telling them neat little doctrinal answers.