So…how’s THAT going?”
I was explaining to another area church-planter the vision and mission of our church—that we feel called to give our lives away in the community, loving and serving people like Jesus. I explained that we are just as concerned with our Monday-through-Saturday lives as we are with what we do on Sunday. I went on and on about how we are striving to be the church, not just be a bunch of people who consume church programs.
It all sounded great—noble and strategic and passionate and compelling. I thought he was going to give his life to Jesus again right there. Instead, he asked me “the question.”
It’s amazing how a few little words can slap you into reality.
Truth is, it’s a great question. Especially as we’re a year into this little thing called Restoration Church. We did set out to be all those things I mentioned. We have grand visions of being the church in our city, not just doing church at the YMCA. So it’s appropriate to ask the question: “so, how’s all THAT going?” And as much as his question caught me off guard in the moment, and has kept me up some nights since, I think the answer was summed up this last weekend.
See, we set out as a church to structure our life around some of the things we value—intentional (and fun) community; a missionary posture in the city (ie, living to give our lives away so people might meet Jesus); loving people well; and, above all, worshiping the Jesus who heals and transforms and gives life. On Sunday last week, we intentionally did not meet at the YMCA for worship, and instead practiced intentional community. The DeBords opened up their family home, we roasted a pig, and we enjoyed a Sunday afternoon together. Lots of people were invited. Many came (we estimated over 200!). The hospitality was radical, and the pulled pork was awesome!
Things like this make me really glad to be a part of our church. It helps me to see that we’re doing what we set out to do. The DeBords didn’t have to open their home. But they did—intentionally and sacrificially. People could have just hung out with folks they knew. But they didn’t—I saw lots of people making introductions and welcoming others. There’s room to grow, sure…but it shows me that “THAT” is going really well.
The truth is, last weekend was just a snapshot. There’s so much more going on that isn’t as public, but is just as important. It’s in the genuine invitation to lunch after church on Sundays—intentionally reaching out to people we don’t already know well. It’s in our service times at Samaritans Inn or InterVarsity or Young Life and Capernaum. It’s intentionally structuring our lives to build relationships in the community. It’s loving others unconditionally, like Jesus. And it’s giving sacrificially so we can bring an intern/missionary in for students and families.
A year in and I think we can answer that question well. It is going well. And I believe there’s so much more of “THAT” ahead as we continue to be the church in and for our city!