Where are the public spaces in your community? In my community it certainly is not the local churches. Not all walks of life from our community feel they can just walk into our church whenever they want. I so wish this was the case, but it is not. It is not the case for most churches that I know. Church property and buildings are seen as a club so to speak that people go to if they are a member or a part of that community. We open our doors at certain limited times only and have people to deal with the community within tight frameworks.
Shopping Malls are another space altogether! All walks of life seem to converge on the shopping mall throughout any given week. It doesn't matter if you are rich, poor, young, old, popular or unpopular...everyone is welcome.
The seats in the eating areas are generally set out to welcome all. There are tables for 4, tables for 2 and even bar seating for the ones that are in the mall alone. They are in fact very welcoming of everyone. Ramps and lifts exist to help welcome those that are physically challenged and shops vary from very expensive to very cheap. There is something for everyone.
What strikes me about shopping malls and particularly the one I live by is that all of my community hang out there at some stage, well almost all! I kinda think that this then is an obvious space for the church to hang out and to intentionally engage with the life of their local community.
What could this look like? I'll let you take some time to think about this and Ill write some of my own thoughts in my next blog.
Interesting stuff hey! happy thinking,