“Millennials,” people aged roughly 18-32, are an odd thing (Firefox’s spellcheck doesn’t even recognize the word): As The Washington Post noted last week, they want to live in hip, urban environments, but as soon as they make an are desirable, they often find they can no longer afford it and leave. A problem, indeed.
As we showcased last week at OnFaith, Kevin Lum took a look at the “influx-consume-flight” patter, and decided he no longer wanted to be a part of it. Instead, he wanted to give something back, and so The Table Church was born (though somewhat by happenstance):
“We had a choice — to keep criticizing the city or to be a part of the solution. So, we began inviting random people over for dinner and scheming what a community might look like that allowed people to stay in the city and transformed new residents from consumers to investors.
Out of those dinners, The Table Church was founded. I often joke that I’m the world’s worst church planter. I had no idea what I was doing — only a vision of what might be possible if Christians in D.C. were to take seriously Jeremiah 29:4-7.”
If it sounds like this “church” is just a bunch of elder-millennial bros sitting around having quasi-religious discussions, think again – community outreach and integration is their entire goal:
“One of the first things we noticed was that transient residents do not build relationships with their neighbors, especially when there’s a racial or socio-economic difference. So, we created a partnership with Douglas Memorial United Methodist Church, an African-American church that has been in the neighborhood for over 100 years. Douglas had a thriving food pantry and thrift store, but an aging population and decreased giving was making it harder to keep these ministries open. Now we run the ministries together as a team.”
Imagine that – younger residents actually taking an interest in not only themselves, but in their neighbors who, in terms of demographics, couldn’t be more different from them. Kids these days, right?
In the end, Kevin’s story is a reminder that church growth can come from anywhere. It doesn’t have to be a big, organized push from a higher authority to build more brick and mortar churches. It doesn’t even have to be an aggressive (albeit quirky) initiative, like the Presbyterian one we featured last week.
Sometimes, it starts with concerned citizens taking an interest in (and responsibility for) their community. Head over to FaithStreet, type in the name of your church, and get started today. It’s that easy.