What image comes to mind when you hear the phrase active church? Hands working? Youth cleaning up the shrubs at the home of a shut-in? UM Women filling care packages? I wanted a picture to put with the phrase active church and with the Google image search, I got a lot of pictures of church buildings (although the deeper I went, the more people I saw). Granted, Google is not necessarily and indicator of what people think, but it is interesting.
People inside the church may see how active it is. We know that those folks visiting the nursing home are doing so because of the church, we know who is visiting prisoners or filling Thanksgiving boxes, but outside the church, it may not be so obvious.
I never really liked the UM "Open hearts..." campaign. I don't know too many people who did, and I don't know that it was the best use of the church's money. The United Methodist church starts a new ad campaign next year, and I look forward to hearing more about it.
The subject of the campaign is "Rethink Church." Some of the quotes in the article trouble me:
...the church population, institution and hierarchy will need to understand and embrace the idea that it is OK for “church” to start out as day care, a youth-group ski trip, a men’s basketball league or something that solves a secular need, such as Habitat for Humanity.
but overall, I think the concept is one that should even be good for people already in the pews. Church is living, breathing, a full time commitment, not just a place you go on Sunday. Hopefully (especially at the cost of $50 million) the campaign will strengthen us as we make disciples for Christ.