I remember meeting with Pastor Matthew Barnett at the Dream Center in Los Angeles not that long ago. As I was standing on the roof of his church building looking out around the area, I was startled at how much the surrounding community had changed since I last saw it back in 2004. As I began to speak with him, he talked about the fact that the crime rate in their area had dropped, unemployment had dropped, and the community itself had become a better place to live in. The area has become safer and more affluent. What has happened is that his church has literally changed the local community around it.
I think that’s a goal every church can have. I believe that when we are living as Christ wants us to live and being the Church He has called us to be, rates of crime, unemployment, and homelessness will drop. The very fabric of our society can be transformed because we as God’s people live and work within a community in need. If Jesus is genuinely active in us, and if therefore we are active in the life of our local community, then our communities, towns, and cities should become physically, spiritually, emotionally, and even financially healthier places to work and live in. They should be transformed for the better because God’s people are there in the centre of them.