Recently I attended the Off the Map conference in Seattle. One idea that stood out to me was put out there by Rich and Rose Swetman: that we count what we care about. That means that if we’re in a church and we’re only counting how much money we bring in each Sunday, how many people are there, then simply the objective sense of those people showing up is what we really care about.
Rich and Rose suggested three c’s that they attempt to work out of in their ministry: conversations, collaborations, and connections. To be able to say, “I had this many conversations with the people in church or the community this week. To say, “We collaborated; I worked with people in the church on these projects, or with people in the community.” To say, “We made connections; we got people together who needed to be connected. We got people who had needs connected in the places where their needs could be met.”
I think all of these are very helpful terms for us to get at what it means to really have our success be about community and creating community that functions well, that builds relationships well, and that lives into the context of where we live in ways where our caring really is about moving people into relationships of meaningful engagement that truly live out the gospel in practical ways in our neighborhoods.