Our Ordinary Story

Ordinary Community Church, what does community mean to you?

 Above is the Photo ellicitation project for our DMin GML cohort.  This was a fascinating journey to learn what others in the community see through their eyes by using photographs to explain.  It was actually really emotional to read some of their profound stories.  We have lived a decade of pain and beauty, as any church does, and this is our Ordinary story. 

Here is what I learned:

  1. Children are central to our story.  I was amazed as the photos came in how many of them saw our community faith through the eyes of the kids.  When we first started out, this was our largest question:  What do we do with the kids?  We tried everything, and just landed on letting them become an organic part of the larger community.  Realizing that segmenting age groups really has its roots in corporate marketing and generational target groups, the Body of Christ is whole together.  We embrace the chaos of having kids in and amongst us in any part of worship, they are never a distraction.  We just roll with it.  What we’re learning is in this environment, kids choose in themselves.  They want to be there by their choice, they are attracted naturally to the worshipping community.  What was a major question for us a decade ago, has become a strength.
  2. Events play a larger role in galvinizing community than I thought.  The pics were largely of parties, retreats, public worship times and celebrations.  Life is mostly lived in the ordinary and the daily, but events play a role in providing community memory, marking values with larger experiences. 
  3. Community is tangible.  It is not a buzz-word, it isn’t a ‘fluffy’ notion, it’s real.  You know when it’s present and you know when it’s not.  We have strived to make it our “point” in the midst of individualist American culture.  We are still learning what it really means, but it’s messy and painful at times.  However, at this point, I can never opt out.  I belong to them and they belong to me.  It is not my Christianity, it is ‘our’ Christianity. 

After 10 years, I have spent all year reflecting on who we are as a community, where we have come from and where should we be seeking to go.  This project helped me see the answers to these questions through the eyes of other.  Very inspiring.  I think we’ll keep going, time to re-up for another decade of asking for His Kingdom to come, on earth as it is in heaven. 

0 thoughts on “Our Ordinary Story”

  1. Chris, I enjoyed these pictures immensely. It was incredibly rewarding to see you in your context, and to read about the incredible community where you live and serve. I love your three primary insights and find them so valuable: focus on children, community-building events and the reality of community. Awesome.dmingml #dmingml

  2. Chris, the photos in your project definitely reflect community. They tell the story in a number of ways. Having served in churches where the sound of a child in worship would elicit the pastor’s invitation for parents to use child care, I applaude the decisions your faith community made about their involvement in every aspect. #dmingml

  3. Chris – I ditto Russ’ and Mike’s comments…a couple of comments of my own…and perhaps more inquiries…you mentioned events being an important part of the community…I concur yet why do we take photos of only certain types of events [parties but not funerals, or children playing but not sick…a lot of smiles and such but few tears…which begs the question from the photos…do we have a particular deep perhaps unconscious thinking about church that minimises the tears and pain of life? [[though the photos are from your community I don’t believe it would be different in my community]. dmingml

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