Robert Lewis pastored a large church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Yet he believed that although the church had grown to a substantial size, the city remained relatively ignorant of the church’s presence among them and that it was not effective as salt and light upon his community.
Lewis reconsidered the way his church was structured and decided to steer his people toward what he calls “common cause”—or, the using of one’s gifts to involve oneself in and thereby be an influence upon the community around him. The process included discipleship and a more intensive approach to gift discovery and utilization. As a result, the church is making a real difference in the lives of its people on many fronts including mentoring programs, community projects, volunteer tutoring in the public school system, and many other similar projects.
At first glance this book appeared to be a warmed-over approach to a social gospel—this it wasn’t—and you’ll have to read the book to see the distinction. Although I do not agree with some of the ways by which he encourages members to be involved in the community (I thought them to be a bit too ecumenical), I certainly came away with a renewed awareness as to the need for our church to be more actively, purposefully, and visibly involved in our community in ways that perceptibly (the community’s perception) benefit it. After all, didn’t the Lord often address physical and relational needs as a bridge to segue into spiritual needs?