Jesus said, “Go!” While we pay lip service to this, I’m not sure we actually do it. I think most of us are OK with the idea of sitting around on Sunday morning waiting to see who is going to show up. I think about Luke 14, about the idea of going out and compelling people to come to the banquet which Jesus hosts whenever his people get together.
I am overwhelmed lately with lots of images about what it means to be a church on the go. I realize that everywhere we go we should invite people to come and meet Jesus. “Come to our church.” But I also realize that this is a variation on the theme of the previous paragraph. We invite, then we wait. But Jesus said, “Go!”
I wonder if this is part of the church’s decreasing relevance in our society. If you don’t come to the church, chances are, you don’t see it’s relevance. Maybe it’s time for the church to be the church on the go and show people who we are and why we do what we do. What would it be like to take the banquet to the people? To be a church that goes to where the people are instead of waiting for them to come to us?
Every Sunday morning I drive by people who aren’t going to church (and not because they went earlier in the week). What does it mean to take the church to them? I think about the outreaches we have done to a nearby apartment complex. We bring lunch, games, lots of soccer balls, music, bounce houses, and our desire to be the face of Christ. This weekend we added a service project. But we’re still asking them to “come” and waiting for them. What if we just did church there? Or in the park up the hill? Or in a supermarket parking lot? Or at a soccer field before the game? Or at the camp ground? Or downtown on the plaza one lunch time?
What would you need? Well, people with a vision who weren’t afraid to go, for starters. Then I suppose you’d need permits or something, depending on where you’d go. Then maybe a tent or covering for some locations. Maybe some sort of sound system and a some way to power it. How about those bounce houses as an added bonus and a way to connect with kids and draw a crowd? Maybe the whole thing looks and feels more like Bible School than a solemn service. But I’m sure the Lord would honor it because we were obedient to his command, “Go!”
Oh, sure, this approach is fine in the summer, we could have a tent or something and do a service and then later have lunch and Sunday School and then play. But in Iowa you can’t really do that for more than 8 months and maybe only for six. Then where do we go? Well, God gave us an imagination and in the winter the crowds move inside. The mall? Who knows? One thing for sure, being a church on the go may be more like a rave than a set activity.
Lots to work out. But maybe we can try something in the spring. Thanks for reading. God bless. PJ