Hugh Halter and Matt Smay have written an interesting book on "Creating Incarnational Community." It's a good read. Following is not a book review, rather just some notes (and quotes) that I wrote after reading it:
Author Hugh Halter tells this story:
As I’m sitting at a Starbucks in the final week of editing this book, I just took a break to talk to a guy named Don. Don grew up in a non-practicing Catholic home, watched his father convert to a Seventh-Day Adventist tradition, but only remembers the types of meat he couldn’t eat. His wife hates the idea of God, and Don’s already expressed his disdain for organized church. Since he seemed open to talk, I lobbed up this question: "If Christianity was only about finding a group of people to live life with, who shared openly their search for God and allowed anyone, regardless of behavior, to seek too, and who collectively lived by faith to make the world a little more like Heaven, would you be interested?”
“Hell yes!” was his reply. He continued, “Are there churches like that?”
On belonging to those we are reaching:
In order for us to change the incorrect assumptions that people have about God and his followers… we’ve got to get to the point where they consider us one of them.
On becoming an advocate for people:
When your posture is correct, you’ll be perceived to be an advocate, a person who supports and speaks in favor of or pleads for another… Instead of drawing a line in the sand and imploring them to ‘get right with God or get left behind,’ we step across from our religious side into their all-too real world and ask how we can help… To be an advocate means that when people are in need, they know that we’ll be on their team, and that we’ll be there whenever they need us, for just about everything.
On inviting people to join you on your spiritual journey:
Share food… Share life… Listen to them… Share Scripture…
On intentionality around creating incarnational communities:
We put much emphasis on helping people create and participate in incarnational communities. It’s not just an attempt to start a bunch of small groups all over the city. We believe that unless people experience [this lifestyle]… and fight for this tangible Kingdom, they won’t grow as disciples of Christ, and Sojourners [the lost] won’t be moving toward God.