Friday, August 2, 2013

Missional Networking near and far

This past Sunday, I visited the Community Baptist Church of Wappingers Falls, New York, where the Rev. William (Bill) Dalrymple serves as pastor.  I found some interesting connections between the Cambridge, NY, congregation and Community Baptist.  Despite being geographically apart, the two churches have the potential for some good conversations about serving their communities.  I encouraged Pastor Bill and Pastor Robin (Cambridge, NY) to be in touch and see what sort of knowledge base and best practices they can share as they have common congregational interests.  You could say this is "Missional Networking" at its best.  (See the link below for more ABCUSA related work on this concept.)

I had met with Bill a couple of weeks earlier at the association clergy breakfast.  I learned of his congregation's long-time partnership with Mid-Hudson Love, In the Name of Christ (aka "Love, INC.").   Congregations work together to gather resources and assist persons with their basic needs.  Pastor Bill affirmed that such a collaborative organization has increased Community Baptist's ability to help persons while reducing the redundancy of several congregations offering help individually (and sometimes to the same individual!).

Such work aligns local churches with the needs of a community.  In turn, you realize you share common ground concerns with other religious communities.  Partnerships can be intra-Baptist, ecumenical and interfaith.  Some may be short-term and need specific.  Other projects could take on a life of their own, sparking other efforts and leading to deepening relationships between your congregation and the community.  Such work can draw people together even within your congregation as it expands the different ways people can connect and belong to a given church membership.

As I speak with other ABCNYS congregations, I will keep listening and looking for ways to connect churches together.  I believe missional networking is a great way to move us forward--together!

My sermon at Community Baptist appears online, by kind courtesy of the web support folks at the church.  You can hear some of my thoughts on the biblical and theological background of Christians working together as the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) as well as the ways I am seeing ABCNYS as a powerful tool for networking churches together as we seek ways to live into the fullness of the Kingdom/Reign of God.

The mp3 file of my sermon "Building the Body" can be heard online via:

To learn more about missional networking:

To learn more about Community Baptist:

To learn more about Mid-Hudson Love, INC.

August 4--First Baptist, Syracuse
August 11--Tabernacle Baptist Church, Utica
August 18--Baptist Temple, Newburgh

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