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Warren Bird writes: If Park Community Church in downtown Chicago, IL, was going to achieve its mission of helping transform the surrounding 200-plus micro-neighborhoods, the church’s leadership team had an ego-swallowing hurdle to clear. They had to be willing to give up imprinting their church’s name on what they did. As the young, affluent congregation founded an organization that partners with other churches, community development agencies, schools and non-profits for the common good of the city, they named it simply Renew Chicago. They also renamed one of Renew Chicago’s original components, a city-wide service project started by Park Church from “Park Service Day,” which was named after themselves, to a broader “For One Chicago”—an event that draws hundreds across the city for transformational service projects. “As churches, we can be territorial,” says Jackson Crum, lead pastor of the multisite Park Community Church. “Sadly, we all want something that’s good to be our idea. But to renew our city we had to give that up and see where we could find common ground with other churches and organizations. “We decided if we need the credit in order to be engaged, it’s too much about us,” he explains. “If we need to put our name on it to be engaged, it’s too much ours.” Park Church did more than remove its name from the initiative it founded. It also shares leadership and decision making with others. It’s not afraid to take a back seat—on stage or in the planning stage. As it hosts planning sessions and other summit meetings with Renew Chicago participants, it invites other churches and organizations to take positions of leadership. “It’s an old saying, but you can get a lot done if you don’t care who gets the credit,” Jackson says. “That attitude really resonates with our young crowd. They’re all for getting it done vs. getting the credit. It’s something we graciously backed into, but it’s become part of our language and part of our culture.” While Renew Chicago is funded and staffed by Park Church, they work extensively with other Chicagoland congregations, including The Moody Bible Church and Trinity United Church of Christ(President Barack Obama’s former church) – anybody who has an interest in renewing Chicago. // Read more here…
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