This is question that has been asked before and I realize that there are a number of ways in which the answer can go but I am asking it in terms of reflecting on the impact of the church on a local community.
What would happen if your church closed its doors and stopped meeting on a Sunday and closed down all of its activities. Would anyone notice or be affected apart from the people who attend each week?
I realize that I am stuck on a tangent for the moment and I am trying to go out of my way to induce a deep sense of guilt but I am simply asking us to reflect on why we go to church. If we go to sing nice songs, to feel good, to hear an encouraging talk and to catch up with a particular social group then this needs to be acknowledged. These are not bad things but they need to be named and then the church can go on be an encouraging social club for a narrow demographic.
If this sounds uncomfortable or offensive then ask what further impact your local church makes to the local community and the wider world. I am reflecting on my own experiences in the church and, to be honest, if some churches closed no-one would notice and only the paid staff would have long-term concerns.
The next question that arises is "What do we do to ensure that the Church is an active agent of change and hope in society?"