Monday, September 27, 2010

Church on the Go

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


  1. Today while in my spin class I looked out the window and saw a truck passing that said "Kline" on it. I thought of you and smiled.

    Living in a predominantly unchurched city like Portland. And not having connected to a church here my Church looks a lot different than it used to.

    What does it mean to me to be a church on the go? It means loving. And forgiving. And dolling out grace to people who know darned well there was no need for me to give it to them. It's being ready to explain myself. It's being transformed so blatantly that people have to ask "why?!" and "What made you..."

    I am pretty sure you already are. Just a matter of expanding that whole thought of "church"

  2. At a prior church, we used last year's VBS materials and went to an inner city park with blankets and held class all week under the trees and had a great turnout. Why do we need to be burdened with a sound system and other "needed" items.

    A thought that I have been pondering is this: People, including myself, will loose their voice cheering for their favorite team. How many people loose their voice telling others about Jesus? And telling othes is part of "Go".

    If we are to "Go", then "Go" should include our actions and how we live our lives. I am reminded that we are, "my brother's keeper". And in a world of "me" how often we forget others. And when Jesus called his disciples they went, they didn't wait. We are called to "Go".

  3. Excellent points and no equipment is required. But there may very well be times that equipment might help people see or hear or stay out of the rain, etc.

  4. April is right. Being the Church is our relationship to Jesus Christ. It is our position and our calling. Once we are his bride, he will always be our husband, no matter where we are and no matter what we do. By God’s grace and our intention, we will bring him glory and reach out to the world as we go.

    John is describing gathering together as being the “church”. We are called to gather together and worship God. We are to read his word, pray, learn about him and be in community with other believers. Then we go out and live our “mission”.

    The gathering together “church” has been this way for almost 2000 years. If you want to change it, fine. You should not worry too much about it. We are already are being obedient in our imperfect ways. The more the pastor feeds the sheep that he has been given, the more they will be empowered to reach the world. The better we live our lives by faith, the better we will do our mission.

    "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. “

  5. “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.”

    We both agree that the church’s relevance and presence is decreasing in our society. I agree with you (John) that we need to go and get the message out. The current message being delivered is also part of the problem. The message is only part of what God has given us. It has been changed to be less offensive. The church is not effective in expressing its faith to an unbelieving society. The church is not dealing with the divisions in the church, the hypocrisy in the church, evil, evolution... The church does not understand the Holy One.

    "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

    The church has also been taken out of politics due to fear of losing its tax exempt status. Please see the following web site for help in making our Christian faith more relevant.