What Should/Does a Church Look Like? It Doesn’t Matter!?!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
29 “Now, Lord, you have kept your promise, and you may let your servant go in peace. 30 With my own eyes I have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: 32 A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel.“ Luke 2:29-32 (TEV)
8 But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:8-9 (TEV)
43 Many miracles and wonders were being done through the apostles, and everyone was filled with awe. 44 All the believers continued together in close fellowship and shared their belongings with one another. 45 They would sell their property and possessions, and distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed. 46 Day after day they met as a group in the Temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts, 47 praising God, and enjoying the good will of all the people. And every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved. Acts 2:43-47 (TEV)
186 People from different countries, different races, and very different backgrounds and professions… When you speak to them about God, you become aware of the human and supernatural value of your vocation as an apostle. It is as if you are reliving, in its total reality, the miracle of the first preaching of Our Lord’s disciples. Phrases spoken in a strange tongue, which open up new ways, have been heard by each one, in the depth of his heart in his own language. And in your mind you can see that scene taking on a new life, in which “Parthians, Medes and Elamites” have come joyfully to God. (1)
This summer, or perhaps in the early fall, our parish, our congregations that meet here, will start looking forward to the future. Most of this is extremely practical, our facility is getting older and will need more maintenance and renovation in the future. We need to think about whether we want to aim toward re-opening a school in the future. We are blessed to have two fields, but they take work. A lot of thinking goes into this, and we have some incredible people in the three congregations that call this place home. The congregation I work with, most of the time, also needs to consider how we will reach out to those in our community, how we will live as the people of God, sent to this place. I look forward to the discussions!
We are blessed in many ways here… one of them is with a somewhat diverse congregation. Most are a bit older – but we have some younger families as well. We have people from five continents, who were born in more than a dozen countries. We have two other congregations that meet here, that add greatly to that diversity. Not bad for a congregation of a little over 100 people,
It hasn’t been, “intentional” It has just happened. It is who God has deposited here, whom He brings here.
Given that I’ve heard our style of worship hampers outreach to certain demographics, or that you have to target your entire ministry to one group or another, I am not sure whether we are just the exception to the rule, or if the rule is not applicable – period. I look at the scripture passages above, and I know. Escriva’s words got me on the track of thought, but the scripture passages confirmed it.
The church was never meant to be mono-ethnic, or mono-cultural. I am not really sure why we believe it must be so, or why we accepted it as the status quo. It is not what was prophesied in scripture. It is a place where everyone should be made welcome, they should know they are part of the family.
But achieving this kind of thing cannot be planned either? We can’t intentionally create a multicultural or multi-ethnic community. What we can do, is simply reach out with Christ’s love to those we encounter, whereever we encounter them. For everyone needs Christ’s love, they need His embrace, they need Him to heal their brokenness. The kind of healing that takes place in community, the kind where we remind each other of Christ’s love, and the complete-ness of it for everyone, of every age, or every ethnicity, of every language.
A outreach that isn’t just a program, but comes as we become aware of those around us.
And the work of Christ in our lives becomes a beacon to those around us,
For we dwell in His peace.
Look around you – see who needs that peace.
What does a church look like? I don’t think it matters at all, but what does matter is we see the need for Christ… in everyone we know, in everyone we meet.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 991-996). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.