Jesus used concrete examples to help people grasp what the Kingdom of God was like. Jesus taught the Kingdom of God was like the father of two sons, a woman losing a precious coin, a farmer casting seed. As one writer has put it, the kingdom of God is the way life would be “if a compassionate God were in charge.” What stories could you tell to help people glimpse this dream? What would this look like in your own life? What would this look like in our community’s life?
Could we for instance say, the Kingdom of God is like a Street Party? Our Christmas Street Party? Certainly, that is our hope – when people are with us they will experience life under a compassionate God. Street parties are fun, they have food, everybody is welcome, there are free things, there are new people to meet and familiar friends. Great street parties become a community where everybody wants to be, and they want more people to come.
I suggest none of this happens by accident. If we leave a large group of people to their own devices, they remain strangers. People stay with their familiar friends in closed circles. While they probably enjoy this, others remain outside the circle, new connections are not made, the lonely stay lonely. Is this what the kingdom of God is like?
When strangers become connected and a caring community builds, we call this an Open Crowd. To build an open crowd takes a group of passionate, committed people who build community and connection. At our Christmas street party this will happen through people serving, fun festival games, people saying “G’day”, thoughtful arrangement of the space and program. We are in recruiting mode for a group of people just like this. My own vision is our church becomes so good at building open crowds, it is a distinctive for how we engage the broader community. Come on – we need you to sign up.