How Engaged is the Church in Your Neighborhood?

The V3 Movement is pleased to host this guest blog from our Praxis 2023 Partner, Parish Collective. Thank you for your support!

Take the 5 Signs quiz from Parish Collective to gauge your level of engagement in your neighborhood.

“The Parish Movement is not just about how we worship together. It’s not just about what songs we sing together. It’s about how we live together.” – Jonathan Brooks, Board Chair of Parish Collective

In 2014, Parish Collective hosted a retreat with over 70 parish leaders from all over North America to discern what was happening in the Parish Movement. By the end of the retreat, the collective had identified 5 Signs or signifiers of churches committed to their neighborhood, or parish.

In 2021, the newly formed Parish Collective Fellowship, a diverse cross section of thought leaders, pastors, and practitioners in the Parish Movement, collaborated to bring fresh language and vision to the 5 Signs that continue to inspire and protect the growing movement while emphasizing the importance of equity and a reconciliatory lens. In an era of so much change and confusion, being the church in the neighborhood feels as important as ever.

The Five Signs of the Parish Movement is an online quiz created by Parish Collective to help you discern where you are in the journey of becoming a parish-minded church. In addition, it offers next steps and videos that explain the Parish Movement and help you guide others. Keep reading to learn more about each of the 5 Signs.

The first one is Centering on Christ. We want to make sure our lives are centered on Christ as a collective expression of the love of God in our place. When we focus on who Christ is in this specific place, and we have a real love and experiential knowledge of a specific neighborhood, we will live out a unique expression of the love of Christ in that place. This is why we work with parish practitioners on learning to cultivate a parish mindset vs creating a model to replicate.

The second one is Inhabiting our Parish. We want to actively inhabit our neighborhoods, not just live in them. In our neighborhood, who has been marginalized and needs to be liberated in that space? What is our response? What things can we do for our place and its inhabitants to live out the liberative story of God?

The third sign is Gathering to Remember. When we gather, we weave our parish — where we’re living — into the larger story of our faith. Our neighborhoods have an integral part in the massive story of God from the beginning of time to the end of time. We gather as much as possible– at block parties and neighborhood events, in people’s homes, around the table, in church services. We gather, remembering that all of that is a part of God’s story. We seek to remember (or learn about) the past,  live in the present, and think about the future. We ask ourselves, what has the history of this place been and how do we factor into it?

The fourth sign is Collaborating for Renewal with God. We trust that God will always invite us into new relationships and collaborative projects that should be for the common good. The early church grew because when people looked at the church, they saw the way that it was helping society and changing people’s lives. When a church abandons that common good and turns to only focus internally, we lose our impact in society.

The last one is Linking Across. You’re not truly linking people in the neighborhood if you only link with people that you have a lot in common with. We want people to be compelled to this unity in difference; we don’t all have to be the same. We don’t have to have the same political beliefs or even theological beliefs. We need all of that difference; if we’re all the same, we’re not unified; we are uniform.

We invite you to connect with the Parish Collective community, which is full of leaders and churches committed to faithful presence in the neighborhood. Ready to get started? Click over to Parish Collective’s website to sign up for their weekly newsletter and download the Free 5 Signs Quiz.

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