Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Bikeable Church, An Idea

For many years I have invited Christ followers to see the church and themselves as "a mission outpost where every member is a missionary in his or her own mission field." Whenever I find someone else calling for the same way of living, I get fired up and realize maybe the idea is more than a catchy phrase. 

Meet Sean Benesh. He lives in Portland with his wife, Katie, and his three sons. He is a missionary on a bicycle. He has written a short book called, The Bikeable Church, which I endorsed because I was captured by his questions and heart to be a missionary in the true sense where he was planted. He's some of his thinking and challenge:
Why do we continue to insist on auto-based commuting patterns for church life and worship? What if we simply reduced the scale and scope to that which is bikeable and/or walkable? As missiologists one of the principles behind exegeting a city is to learn how people naturally gather for fellowship and community. Most often we still operate as a foreign import even within our own cities. It is time to think and act like missionaries in our own cities.
A new, fanciful idea? I don't think so. The bike culture is growing across our country--even in my auto-dominated suburb where I live and serve. (I've written of some of my cycling trips in this blog, and I rode over 40 miles commuting on my bike last week while my wife's car was in the shop.)  

Why not make your church property and environment bike-friendly if a segment of your population uses that mode of transportation? Why not encourage more people to ride their bikes for health, environmental, and community reasons?

One of the ways we connect as Legacy Church with our area's cycling community is through a group we call Legacy Cyclists. We have over 90 names on our email list, and we have weekly rides from our church's campus. We join other groups and events in order to meet other cyclists and be witnesses where we live, work, learn, and play.

What impact has Sean's call to be more missional had on Legacy and me? The Legacy Cyclists are collecting funds to place bike racks around our campus in order to encourage people to cycle to our facilities. Several of our international friends who attend our English Language Program have ridden bikes to class for some time.We need to serve them and follow their example too.

School Bike Racks
We hope to place 4 or 5 racks around the property so people will have places to put their bikes when they ride to worship, fellowship, learn, or serve. 

If you'd like to join us by donating to the bike rack fund, you can go to our e-giving page and donate there. Just mention "bike racks" in the description section. We need about $1,200.00. 

Also, we leave the church parking lot closest to Legacy Drive, every Sunday at 4:00 p.m. for a 20 to 27-mile ride. (We will move to 3:00 when we return to Standard Time on Sunday, November 4.) Join us this Sunday if you live in the Plano-Frisco area.

Sean, thank you for the reminder we are missionaries where we live and all we do can be platforms to tell the Story of Jesus. I'll be riding my bike more often to the office and on Sundays now.

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