Engaging Community


Engaging Community


An 'Engaging Community' afternoon workshop was held earlier this month in Lochaber aimed at church leaders and Christians "interested in working out their faith in the community".


The following report has come in from one of the delegates who attended that event.

Have you ever attended a meeting or conference and after the first 30 minutes you are wondering if you are in the right place? Those thoughts run through my mind when I attended the recent ‘Engage Community’ workshop at the Glencoe Outdoor Centre. I had come to hear how to get in amongst the community and share the teaching of Jesus, but here we are with the workshop leader, Rev. Ian McFarlane, talking about me (self) and the condition of my heart. I didn’t expect the first step to be looking in, when my expectation was to look out!

There was comfort though when at our first break out into discussion groups, I realised that others were experiencing the similar feelings as we struggled to answer the questions, ‘Where is your passion and your heart? - What motivates you as a Christian?’ I would have been able to answer the question more accurately if I was to identify my passions about sailing or business strategy, 'strange isn't it!' (See footer)

Engaging Community1The bottom line is in recognising who we are in Christ and to realise that we have that same love bestowed on us, as the Father had for His Son, Mark 1:11-12,
“You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. At once the Spirit sent Him out……” Our task of being sent out will be much easier, when we can be clear as to who we are, and who it is that is sending us.

When Jesus sent out the 72 we're told in Luke 10, that He was specific with His calling, Jesus made it clear to them how and where the disciples were to engage community, what they would say, what they would do and what to do if they were not received with a welcome. Sometimes we will receive a re-buff working for Christ, but in the end the 72 returned with joy, celebrating their success.

Engage CommunitySo where are we being sent? It became clear to me as the workshop progressed that if we know who we are in Christ then we can relate to our families and friends in a way that Jesus would want us to, from there we stand a chance of being a valuable member of the local church that touches our own community our Nation and beyond.

It is clear to me that God is stirring us up to be His ambassadors; I hope we will be like Nehemiah and pray, "Lord give me success today".

It was interesting that on the Monday after the workshop two phone calls stirred me to get out of my comfort zone to respond to community needs. It was as if Christ was saying "now you have heard message, go and practice it"!

Other delegates described the workshop as;

“very good, I was challenged about how powerful the local church could be if Christians who had passion and a heart for serving God together in the community.

“Revelation after revelation, what a great day”.



Isn't it strange
How difficult it is to learn a fact about God to share it with others;
but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip?

Isn't it strange
How a £20 note seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church,
but such a small amount when you go shopping?

Isn't it strange
how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers say but ... we question the words in the Bible?

Christians Together - Lochaber, 16/02/2009

Donald Key (Guest) 16/02/2009 19:07
Good job jeremiah never used the round image above as his template, am I reading it wrong or is self really in the middle?
If you need a conference on how to reach the community then god help us all. You do not need to reach the community!!! You are already part of it, now go and live in it and stop wasting time on comfy chairs talking about what you are going to do but never getting past the powerpoint and brainstorming sessions.
Maybe Jesus should have done an alpha course to engage the pharisees and worked out the demographics of the locality first...sorry people, just do it

PS. I know some of you will say you need training to go and engage the community so listen are part of the community now, and if you are truly in the kingdom you will know how to tell others.
Tony Walters (Guest) 12/07/2009 07:55
Hi Donald

I can understand where you are coming from but have difficulty with the discouraging tone of your comments. The reality is that following this workshop one attendee felt sufficiently challenged to take the responsibility to set up and lead a mid week home group in their own village community, whereby additional people are now hearing the authentic word of God on a regular basis. This group now includes two people who are not Christians but are earnestly seeking God.

Anthor person who attended the workshop came out of their own cacoon and took on the role of leading/organising the effort to bring the recent Luis Palau Festival to Fort William. His recent email sums up the effort:

"Well it seems a lifetime the event took place. What an event, what an event in Mallaig and what an event in Inverness.

It seems rather belated but I needed to recharge my batteries so to speak- I just wished to say a big Thank you for all your involvement and others in making this event what it was. It was a great witness to the the area that churches can get together and bring hope to the community.

At the Fort William event 26 folks responded and we gave out 92 bibles to various folks. Many of us spoke to a number of folks, but they didnt wish to give their details"

You know Donald sometimes we all need to be encouraged, not discouraged, by other Christians and 'stirred up to fan into flame the gift of God which is in us'2Timothy 6. Perhaps you would consider attending the next workshop which will continue the theme in the autumn. Tony Walters
Ian McFarlane (Guest) 27/11/2012 11:22
Sometimes it is necessary to consider where we are on our faith journey or how confident we are as to who we are in Christ. That can be a challenging point for many to get back "in the groove" so to speak. Having our own dormant faith re-awakened can then become the opportunity to start to live it out as Donald Key rightly identifies.The concentric circles do not represent a values model, but a missional model something akin to Jesus words about Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Archive > Around the Region > Lochaber > Engaging Community Report