- Steve Chase
The concept of "Parish" has arisen in my consciousness of late. Taken the right way it expands the concept of church. Last night I went to our local House of Correction for one to one counseling at the request of some of the men who come to our Wed evening Bible Study at the jail.
Recently I was visiting another prisoner on work release from the jail daily at his place of employment. When telling me how to find him at work he told me where to go and to tell them I was his "pastor". He has never been to any church building or even a house meeting, but he considers me his pastor.
I also visit another man who is struggling at his place of business to help him, even though he goes to another local body. I'm not trying to proselytize him to our "Gathering." I simply realize he is being helped spiritually as he opens up to me.
Another one of my friends is a Attorney in this area, really quite a good lawyer, a Mormon of Stature, a Regional Elder. We have many meals together and I know he is being challenged by the reality of Jesus Christ simply through our friendship.;
I think when leaders only see those who attend their building or are registered on membership roles as those in our church, we are narrowing our influence in peoples lives.
Instead, thinking we have responsibility for the spiritual well being of everyone in our parish. To minister to people without trying to obligate them or indoctrinate them into our particular sub-variant doctrines, but to truly help them find their way to God or to help them live in a pleasing manner to Jesus as a true disciple.
Recently, I saw a gentleman in our local coffee place who had attended my Bible-study for almost two years at the jail. When released he started attending another local church, I never thought a thing about it.
I think the idea of building "our local church" can create unsanctioned motivations vs building any and all individuals in our parish as real born again disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.