One of my favorite theologians is Miroslav Volf of Yale. Five years ago he wrote a book about human flourishing in the world and the role of religion in that flourishing. In an interview with David Brooks following the publication of the book, he defined human flourishing as life going well, life led well and life feeling right. Life going well involves having access to the basic necessities of life such as food, housing and medical care. Some might call it “living the good life”. Life led well involves character and what we might call “righteousness” in the terms of the biblical prophets. I see it as doing the right things in the right way for the right reasons. Some might call it “doing good”. Life feeling right involves feeling positive and hopeful about life. Maybe some could call this “seeing the good”.
What occurs to me is that when church is done well it contributes to these three facets of human flourishing. The church through its missions aids people in having access to the basic necessities of life- our own Food Pantry, Akins mission to homeless teens, Backpack ministry with Menchaca Elementary and Habitat are examples of important contributions. The church also contributes greatly to character formation through our classes and worship. Finally, our contributes to a positive feeling about life through messages about grace, acceptance and hope. Caring ministries help people experience hope as well in their times of crisis or transition.
Next time someone asks you what your church is about, you can answer in two words: human flourishing!