“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18
As we partner with churches in the good and necessary work of placemaking, we always start with by asking each church to examine their congregation’s heart and soul:
Who are you, really (SOUL), and what is your posture towards your neighbor(hood) (HEART)?
Those questions come first because we must have a firm grasp on our present reality — not a glossed-over, idealized version of who we think we are or how we’d like to be engaged within the broader ecosystem of our community, but the cold, hard facts — before we can look ahead to the future.
The foundation of healthy placemaking work must be built on reality.
However, once a church has named their reality honestly, the fun really begins as they ask,
“How is God inviting us to better steward our space to love our neighbor?”
This is the MIND work of placemaking, where we invite churches to turn their gaze towards the future and their preferred vision for how they use and share their space for the flourishing of all.
This question pushes the church’s thinking beyond merely, “What uses might help financially sustain our church?” by inviting them to see their space as a tool that can—and should!—be used to love their neighbors.
When we say that placemaking work done well leads to the flourishing of all, we mean it. If a church’s space is reimagined in ways that activate it for the sake of the community, neighborhoods flourish. AND if the church engages the process with its primary aim not focused on financial sustainability but on love for neighbor, the church will flourish as well.
The admonition of Proverbs 29:18 is of no concern for the church who has chosen to steward its space in service of the greater good of loving its neighbor(hood).
With such a vision, the people flourish.