Does your church’s family photo match your community’s family photo? Kara Powell believes it should, and I agree. At the Orange Conference 2017, she explained exactly why this is so important.

She started by saying, “We should get to know our neighbors, because of Jesus.” He was all about loving those around Him. And if we are supposed to be like Him, modeling our lives after Him, we need to do the same.

The Message paraphrases John 1:14 as, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”

Kara stated, “The Gospel champions cost, not comfort.” God wants us to do great things. He doesn’t call us to be comfortable. The people throughout history who have done amazing things for God’s Kingdom have never been what we would consider comfortable. It’s not about us. It’s about others who don’t yet know Jesus.

On top of this, it’s important to be intentional. “Without intentionality,” Kara said, “we will default to similarity.” We will find ourselves naturally moving to what is comfortable and familiar, so we have to make a plan to step out of that by being intentional about reaching our neighbors.

During her research for her book, Growing Young, she found that young people were twice as likely to elevate diversity as something they love about their church than the leadership was. We need to begin mirroring our neighborhood. If not, we won’t be truly reaching our neighbors, whom Jesus has called us to love. And here’s the thing: the next generation really values it!

Wrapping up, Kara mentioned three questions a church can ask to help the photos begin to match:

  • How do our up-front leaders reflect our neighborhood?
  • How do we help our neighbors feel like insiders and not outsiders?
  • How do we become the best church for the neighborhood?

When you ask these three questions of your church and neighborhood, what comes to mind? What do you plan on doing to help the two photos match?


You can follow Kara Powell on Twitter @KPowellFYI and get her book, Growing Young, on Amazon.

Want more from The Orange Conference 2017? Click here!

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