This past weekend we cancelled all of our church services at all of our campuses. Instead of gathering together in a building we encouraged nearly three thousand people to leave the building and go be the church.
In Matthew 6 Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father, who is in Heaven, hallowed by your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” Most Christians pray that prayer in hopes that God’s kingdom will come some day in the sweet by and by when Jesus returns to take them to heaven. But that is only half of what Jesus was asking us to pray. Those of us who follow Jesus should be praying, “Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come (right now), your will be done (right now), on earth as it is in heaven. It’s our job to bring as much of God’s kingdom, as much of heaven, as we can to this earth, right now. Right now.
We have to ask the question, “If the church were to close its doors today, would anyone notice?” Would anyone on the outside of the church care? And that’s why we closed our church building doors for a weekend. We asked people not to “come” to church, but to go “be” the church. As a result, hundreds and hundreds of Jesus followers took to the streets to serve others.
Julie, Tabs and I began on Saturday. We purchased mums and baked pies to take to some of our neighbors. (We wanted a service activity in which Tabs, at age eight, could participate.) I went to the grocery store to collect the ingredients we needed for the pies. After about 45 minutes of shopping I made my way to the register to pay for the items. At the register I realized I had left my wallet at home. Nice. I drove home, picked up my wallet and returned to the store. At the store I discovered that a well trained grocery boy had returned all of my items to their appropriate locations on the shelves. Our family’s small act of service was turning into a time consuming project!
Later that afternoon when we delivered a flower and a pie to an older woman who lives near us, it was worth every bit of the effort.
On Sunday we joined some friends of ours and we journeyed down to the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio in Wooster. Our task was to landscape the cottages in which the boys and girls in the foster care system live. We prayed that God would bless these children through our efforts.
Some people picked up trash along the streets. Others rebuilt porches, scraped and painted houses, even were involved in the construction of homes with Habitat for Humanity. School playgrounds were repaired, homeless shelters were cleaned, pregnancy support centers were beautified.
Why? Because that is what we believe Jesus would do. And if Jesus would do it, then the church should be doing it.
Our prayer is that this won’t be a “one weekend” activity, but that it will become part of who we are. Embedded in our DNA. That in some small way, not just by the words we say, but by the way we live, we would become Jesus to the world.
To read about other iSERVE experiences, go to www.iserve.wordpress.com