Yesterday I went and talked with the city counselor who represents our district. What I wanted to know was what he thought the most pressing issues were in the community and how we as a church might respond. We had a good conversation about what was going on, but as one of my last questions I asked him his perception of how well churches have been in responding to the needs of the community or working with the city and other groups to address them. His response floored me.
He said that in his 10 years on city council I was the first clergy person who had ever made an appointment to come and speak with him. The first in ten years. He said that he had spoken with the pastors at some of the very large churches in the district, but that was because he sought them out.
Churches do some amazing things, and I hope they are talking with other groups about pressing issues, but how do we address the issues of our neighborhoods if we aren't talking with the community leaders whose jobs are to try and address those issues?
I apologized to him on behalf of the other clergy and we then talked about how we can work together to get the churches more engaged with community leaders to address the issues that are facing the people in the communities where we live, work and worship.