Christ Episcopal Church is currently in the midst of a major paradigm shift. As Reggie McNeal describes in his book Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church, this shift is a change in the traditional understanding of who the Church is and what Christ calls us to do and be.
McNeal defines three shifts, each of which Christ Episcopal Church is experiencing in some way: 1) from an internal to an external ministry focus, 2) from program development to people development, 3) from Church-based to Kingdom-based leadership.
While we at Christ Episcopal Church – and the Church universal – have far to go to fulfill our Great Commission (“Go ye into all the world…” Mark 16:15), we have for too long missed the mark. As we begin to think differently about what it is to “do church”, we realize church is not just something we do or a place we go, but it is who we are. And it is those who are least likely to ever “do church”, who need Christ the most. And it is these we are called to serve.
This all sounds great, right? But then we face serious questions: So how do we reach them, the ones who won’t become members, who won’t join a Sunday School class, etc., but still need Christ? We are sent forth. We must be the church outside our beautiful, stained-glass-filled nave, not just inside it.
But how, you ask? Currently, Christ Episcopal Church is partnered with The Well Community, a community of people working to bring love and health to adults recovering from serious mental illness in Oak Cliff. Also, as part of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas’ One Church One School initiative, we support John H. Reagan Elementary School, right in our own neighborhood. In 2012, Christ Episcopal Church in Dallas sponsored a home in the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League’s Annual Fall Home Tour, the League’s annual fundraiser; these funds are then returned to the community in matching grants to non-profits that serve Oak Cliff.
These are just three examples of how we, the members of Christ Episcopal Church, corporately reach out God’s hands of love to the community where we are. This is a very incomplete list of our corporate outreach, and does not even begin to catalog the outreach we do as individuals in our daily lives.
We are, as the world around us, faced with daily change. Some good, some bad. But our prayer is that we might always meet the needs of our community; to be Christ to Oak Cliff, Dallas, and the world beyond. Want to know more? Then, come and see!