Friday, November 6, 2015

Becoming the Church

Matthew 6: 10
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

A popular quote says, "We will never change the world by going to church.  We will only change the world by being the church."  

Beauty is seeing those words lived out.  

My two youngest sons and I volunteer in an inner city ministry’s after school program.  Four years ago, a preacher joined the volunteer efforts - not the first preacher to be involved but new to this ministry.  A seed was planted in his heart, the neighborhood needed a church.  The neighborhood has many churches, some old, some new.   What he knew was that when the Church, the way Christ intended it to be, is planted in the hearts of souls, amazing things happen.  

One Sunday morning, I got a call from a mom from a group I led during my first volunteer year.  Her dad had fallen during the night; he had been without his oxygen mask and was unresponsive.   Due to comedic error in my family of fix-it men, my car could not carry me to her quickly enough to be of any hands- on service that morning.   So my service involved  prayers and invoking other prayer warriors.  Less than three hours after her phone call to me, her father passed into eternity to meet his Creator.    

What unfolded in the days after his death is a tale of the church becoming the kingdom, reaching out to this family with hands, feet, and wallets in love.  

A network of churches is involved in the ministry carried out in the little blue house of Hope.  The people making up these churches sent money to help cover final expenses.  The family had no worries of an unmarked grave; the expenses were covered by generous donations from God's people choosing to love in a tangible way. 

It was a busy, grief-filled week, difficult to carry on with "regular" life in a household of five children and three adults while ministering to one's grieving mom who lost the love of her life.  Men had to go to work, children had to go to school, and arrangements had to be made.  The gift of food delivered blessed the family.  Extra trips to the hospital, to mom, to the mortuary, all of this plus the regular need for transportation - filling up the tank was another way the church helped. 

A beautiful example of the church BEING the kingdom came after the memorial service; the women of the little, less-than-two-year-old-church, fed the grieving family.  A small group of ladies who study God's word together weekly provided a meal, nourishing the family, caring for their bodies and spirits in their time of need. 

Two years ago, most were strangers to one another, neighbors, but unknown.   Because of a seed planted by our Father, and the LOVE found in His Word lived out by Jesus, neighbors are ministering to neighbors in times of need.  That is the church BECOMING!