As we all reflect on Bay Shore’s identity and purpose, it is already clear to me that you really are a community church. What does it mean to be a “community church”? In some cases it just means that most of the church members live close to the church. My early impressions are that here, “community church” means much more.
This seems to be a church to which un-churched people in the neighborhood come for life transition events and holiday worship. The church seems to be known and appreciated by longtime residents of the neighborhood. You offer space to a large number of community groups, and your relationship with those guests seems remarkably amicable. Missions within the community are very important to you. As we review the history of Bay Shore, we are discovering (or remembering) that each of your Senior Pastors had unique ministries to the community at large, into which they invested significant amounts of time. And your Bond of Union has helped you to welcome people raised in diverse flavors of Christianity, and with different political opinions.
It seems to have been the intention of the founders of this church to make it a resource for the community. The Youth Center also seems to have been built as much for the community as the church. While those founders might have trouble even recognizing the church and the neighborhood around it today, I like to think the church is faithful to their vision.
As we do our work together, we can reflect on how we claim the gift and strength of being a community church. “Community” is part of this church’s rather long name, and an important part of who you are. I look forward to learning more about your ministries to and with the community, and the ways God can use this church to minister to and with its neighbors.