Chesser Chat November 2021
I want you to take a trip with me today. Where will we be going? The better question is “when” will we be going. We are travelling to the future. We don’t need to go far- let’s say we travel to the year 2031. Ten years from now, in the city of Warwick, Rhode Island. Actually, we are not just going to one future, we are going to two.
In the first of the two futures, Warwick Central Baptist Church has been steadily operating as usual for the past decade. In the second future, something has happened to the church. What happened is not overly important, just take it that at some point in the intervening ten years, the church has ceased to exist.
Now what we are going to do is go out and interview people throughout Warwick. We’ll start with the people who are members of the church, along with regular attendees. We can broaden the scope to look at our broader family members, relatives, etc. Then we will interview random people on the street. Finally, we will supplement all that we have learned from these interviews by looking at newspapers (if they’re still around in 2031!).
Now we come down to the purpose of this thought experiment: how do you think the two futures would be different? Some things we would take for granted as being different: the people who attend the church would be attending different churches, and organizations like Cornerstone and Building Blocks would either have to close or move somewhere else. These things are sort of bedrocks.
I’m not interested in the bedrocks though. What I want to know is this: what are we doing to improve the lives of our members and the people in our community? If the city of Warwick was virtually identical in either possible future, are we making a real impact on our community? Have we helped to face down any of the myriad problems our city, and indeed our world, are facing?
And what of our membership? We’ve already mentioned that they would be attending other churches, but what else would be different? They could still easily connect with their friends from WCBC, and they would still theoretically be a part of a spiritual family. So here is the question: is there something they are getting here that they are not getting at these other churches? Are we doing everything we can to improve their spiritual lives?
I am not going to give you the answers to these questions, in part because I don’t know them. It’s hard to gauge impact and future impact when you are in the middle of things. But I do believe that asking these questions is a great way to guide ourselves forward in the future. Our top priorities will always be to use the gospel to make a positive impact on our community. If we aren’t doing that, why are we even here?