One topic that has come up in several Zoom and in-person meetings recently has been how to get the church going again, five months into this pandemic. While most inquirers and responses have been about getting people back into the church facility, I have been offering a differing view. Should our main focus be about getting people back into the building or equipping them to serve in life’s arenas? Gathering, socializing, and learning together is an important physical and mental need that God has built inside each of us.
However, as I read scripture, I sense that Jesus’ focus for us was to be on sending rather than gathering. “Go into all the world…” people will always learn more through doing than sitting and listening. It has been said that “Experience is the greatest teacher.” While I relent that The Holy Spirit is our teacher, no amount of classroom or pulpit instruction holds a candle to learning through experience. With that being said, we must teach why to serve and how to grow in Christ.
This past Sunday, my church engaged in an act of service. I smoked 54 pounds of Boston Butt Pork shoulder. Others made Mac-&-cheese, baked beans, and cookies. Some purchased buns and other accessories. After service Sunday morning a group gathered to pull the pork, mix it with B-B-Q sauce and plate the meals. Then several families, couples, or individuals set out to deliver the meals to the households of some of our long-serving senior saints.
The idea was to involve many different people in the church to show gratitude for those who have served in & through the church in recent decades. A secondary idea was to involve people in an act of service to open our hearts and minds to more service ministry projects. Ideas have been tossed around about doing for other groups in the church and community. Today, I turned thoughts to serving businesses in the community. Some of these I have shared in Zoom meetings over the last few weeks and in documents for religious organizations. Consider these.
Businesses are hurting. Lost income has hit very hard. Small businesses have been severely impacted, some near closure. While your church cannot reimburse local businesses for all their loss, there are ministry opportunities abounding outside your church door.
- Offer counseling or a listening ear for business owners and employees
- Ask for an appointment with local business owners (one on one) or managers. Simply go to listen & offer to pray. Listen for opportunities your church can serve that business. Then serve!
- Offer to prepare a meal for every employee in a small business (Hair salons, banks, local gov’t office, water company, knick-knack shop, the list goes on and on)
- If not a meal, what could your church offer to show you “care” for the community
- Adopt a business as a church. If your church is large enough each group in the church (worship team, Bible study groups, staff) adopt a business and search for ways to show you care because God cares.
- Frequent small businesses in your community to boost their economy.
Each one of these offers opportunities to teach and practice discipleship. Each will help build bridges to the community & gospel conversations. Get farther outside the box than you’ve ever gone before and if you need some thinking help, contact me.