What can you brag about with your church?

Kara Powell | Mar 1, 2012

As a 16 year-old, I was often embarrassed to tell my friends I was going to church. I was a student leader (in fact, I was somewhat leading our student leadership team). Yet if friends asked me if I was free on a Wednesday night or a Sunday morning, I often went out of my way to avoid using the word church in my explanation for why I wasnt available. Id say, I have a meeting, or I have a thing with my family (I would tell myself that neither of these statements was totally un-true since I did meet with people at church, and my family went also).

Maybe part of why I was embarrassed by being involved in church was because to my teenage peers, the church seemed irrelevant (at best) and judgmental (at worst).

This week, Christianity Today, a magazine that FYI has subscribed to and supported for years, asked FYI to answer this question in light of some re-branding efforts they are launching: Whats your hope for the church?

They wanted us to write our answer in a paragraph. Not easy to do with such a lofty and exciting topic, especially for those of us who love both words and theology.

But Ill take a stab.

FYIs hope for the church is to celebrate the good news of the gospel that the kingdom of God is at hand. We dream of a church that proclaims and works toward the shalom that is taught in Scripture a holistic sense of peace that reconciles us to God, others, and to creation. We envision the church being known more for what we are for than for what we are against. We dream of the church being a place of light, healing and hopea rescue station for neighborhoods and individuals looking for refuge.

Wouldnt it be great if the church was known as such a powerful force of reconciliation and hope that adults and teenagers were BRAGGING (in the best sense of the word bragging) about the positive impact their church had in individuals lives and in their community? Thats the church I long to be part of.

Heres one thing Ill brag about with my local church in Pasadena: we are a place that values and intentionally moves toward diversity; we see it as a core part of who we are as a Scripturally-guided, Kingdom-minded community.

What can you brag about with your church?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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