I just spent the last week in Palm Springs. It was amazing and refreshing. One of my favorite things that I get to do on trips like this is golf, sit by the pool, take a nap (remember those?) and my favorite…READ. It was a personal goal of mine to read two books during the 7 days I was here, and I did it. It feels awesome.

One of the books is called “The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community” by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay (you can find the book on Amazon HERE).

This book was challenging for me based on the churches I have grown up in and the church I work at now. It is challenging in the fact that they are writing from a church in which is focused on only the “serious people” stay at the church and they have a “talk” with the not so serious and they suggest that the church is not for them. I know, it rubs me the wrong way at first but understanding their context is important. They do not focus on programs or really cater to the “seeker”, but they simply follow the way Jesus did ministry, and that is to be apart, among, and with the people in the community.

“Their goal isn’t to attract people to worship services, but to BE the faithful church in small pockets throughout their city. They meet in coffee shops, homes, anywhere in public, and when people would ask what they were doing, they simply would invite them to join and “Come and see”, like Jesus said to His disciples. They challenge churches and leaders to take a leap from their safe environments of their buildings and truly enter the real world- God’s reality.”

I like it. Even though I do not agree with everything, I feel that I am able to take many things from what they were saying and apply it into our ministry at Saddleback HSM. Some things they suggested that I want to apply that I got from reading this book. These are just some examples of the incarnational ministry they talk about in the book:

  • Don’t just live in my apartment community, but REALLY live in the community. Get to know neighbors, staff, etc and just be a real person and have genuine relationships with people. Know about their lives.
  • Instead of being in the office all of the day, spend part of the day at your second office in public. For me, that would be Starbucks. Usually the same people are there at the same times always. And conversations usually happen when you see the same people, the same staff.
  • Have meetings with volunteers or students at Starbucks instead of the offices.
  • Instead of having our Bible study at the church, do it at a coffee shop or shopping center plaza. Get in the community and start the natural conversations that will happen.

These are just a few things I can personally do in my ministry. Even though I sort of do this already, it is more about being intentional while doing it. This I will do and pray for the future relationships that can come out of it.

I really recommend this book if you are a leader of any sort of ministry or in any church context. It is a great reminder of how we can get caught up in ministry and loose the relationship aspect of the people who come looking for the only thing Jesus can give them.