Sunday morning, with all its frantic dressing, hasty home exits, family herding, and other miscellaneous attempts to arrive at the service on time and presentable can sometimes take on a hazy focus that is turned more inward than we would necessarily like to admit. The questions streaming through our minds take on a strange, myopic twist as we wonder: What will I wear? Where will I sit? Will the worship engage me and the sermon speak to me? Will I make it home in time for kickoff?
Does Church exist to make us feel good about ourselves and help us develop a wider social circle, or was it perhaps meant to be more?
What if we started out our Sunday’s with a different set of questions, something more along these lines: Who can I minister to today? Is my heart prepared for worship? What does God have to speak to me through this sermon? How can I encourage my pastor?
I believe that the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, is a great clue into how Jesus views the work of the church, and of the church goers. It states:
“And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and on earth.
19Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,
20teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Amen.”
There isn’t very much inward focus here – the whole point is to get up, to move out, to find people outside of where you are right now and share the Good News with them. It may come in the form of easy opportunity, or it may come in the form of difficult, oppressive, sharing, but however it comes, we must, as believers, take an active role in going out and sharing.
Recently, I had the pleasure of communicating with St. Lawrence Community Church, which is implementing a start-up program they have named “Daily Bread Ministries”. If the name seems familiar, you may have come across a Daily Bread devotional before. These are small booklets that contain a daily devotional reading, along with an assigned scripture for the day. Lots of churches offer them in the foyer area, and you can also opt to receive them via the mail.
The Community Church in St. Lawrence, however, decided to use them in a new way, and to pair the spiritual food with its physical counterpart.
One Sunday a month, during the Sunday School hour, interested adults and youth pair up and go out into the community. They take with them a Daily Bread devotional and a literal loaf of bread, often fresh baked at a local bakery. The pairs are encouraged to visit either someone they know that may not be able to make it out to church, or a new home that the Lord has laid on their heart.
The people who live in these homes cross a wide spectrum, from the elderly widowed shut-in to the family with more kids to feed than money in the paycheck. There are men and women, believers and non-believers, hungry and fed.
They’ve yet to have anyone turn down a loaf of bread, and there have been heart touching encounters in which church members have been invited into homes to pray, to visit, and to build relationships.
Not because the church invested thousands into an advertising campaign. Not because of crazy worship lighting and full bands, or all the newest technological equipment, or a full coffee bar – but because the Body of Christ picked up the Bread of Christ and they went out into their world to encounter the people that Christ Himself came to love and to offer Himself for.
Opportunity is everywhere – Christ’s people are everywhere. Go out and find them. Talk to them. Pray for them. Love them.
*The concept of “Daily Bread Ministries” was laid on the heart of Darrelyn Tutt, and implemented with the full blessing of the Pastor and Board of St. Lawrence Community Church.
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