Missional Matters #12 - Becoming an alongsider

We’ve all heard of insiders and outsiders, but what about alongsiders?

Insiders are people who belong to a group, know what’s going on and may even help run the group. Outsiders lie outside the group or exist on the fringe. A problem arises when insiders enjoy being in the group and forget about outsiders. This is where alongsiders enter the picture. Alongsiders help outsiders become insiders, in the best sense.

God’s kingdom is expressed through groups aka churches. The future depends not on the heroic efforts of a few paid staff, pastors or missionaries. It does depend on church insiders being willing to walk alongside people on the outside or on the fringe. Alongsiders don’t need to be theological experts. Rather… empathy, common sense, asking questions, listening, ability to tell a faith story, and above all time is needed.

Churches, ours included, desperately need alongsiders to share their lives and faith with the wider community in all sorts of ways. This could be through budgeting, gardening, cooking, a homework club, teaching English or numerous other activities. Our church’s play group, divorce care and counselling are great examples of getting alongside. Identifying a needy person who would benefit from a foodbank parcel is another. And we have multiple opportunities to get alongside former refugees, to help stack firewood and drink tea together.

Interested in becoming an alongsider? Let’s talk…

Julian Doorey

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