Jonny Rashid on why we can’t be boiled down to an ad

We designed Circle of Hope to be a real community where Jesus can be met and known. We have a lot to say about the world and how Jesus is working through us and in it. It’s our dialogue that keeps us together and gives us gravity. But it’s so hard to boil that down to a friend. I want to put it on a postcard and send it to everyone in town. But it doesn’t quite fit on a postcard. And if it did, it might make what’s so special about it go away.

But I have to admit I find myself in a “Catch-22” often. I love Circle of Hope. But I don’t know how to sum it up well enough in a Tweet or an ad. I want to do that because I want the whole region to know about us. But we aren’t very sound-bytable. We aren’t that distillable. We aren’t very gimmicky. We don’t have a catch phrase that we can plaster on a bumper sticker. Usually when we try to do that, we end up with a paragraph. So maybe I need a marketing degree instead of one in divinity, but maybe real community isn’t so reducible. It’s not so advertiseable. Maybe we can’t just get a thirty-second spot on the radio to summarize it. But I want to people to know about it.

I love our community. It’s been meaningful and transformative to me personally, but also the church has been such a great benefit to the people in it and outside of it. I love our cells. I love our Sunday meetings. Our compassion teams have touched the lives of people locally and around the world. Our counseling center is a bastion of hope for many people as well. The people in our community are the best expressions of it. They are the best way that Jesus is revealed. And maybe that’s the point. Maybe because our community is made of people and people aren’t reducible to a profile on the Internet (try as we might). Our community isn’t reducible. But it’s bonded together by a desire to share the hope of Jesus person-to-person, friend-to-friend. So none of this happens instantly. But just because it takes some time and some intention doesn’t stop me from trying to share it with you. It doesn’t fit on a video. It might not even fit on a page of a broadsheet newspaper. But I think it’ll fit with you. Try it for size. Don’t take my word for it. My words aren’t enough to describe the dozens of people you’ll meet that want to love, connect, share, and dream together. The people that you might meet Jesus through. You’ll have to show up, be a part, get a plate, eat at the table.

Honestly, if you’re struggling to find a place to call home; if you need rest for your soul; if you need love, community, a new chance, a new start: I recommend checking us out. Get a taste of hope.

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