Summer is definitely in full swing, and, as always, lots of things are moving. This past Sunday, we had a Father’s Day picnic, which was a blast! Cornhole, a big bouncy house, and plenty of food on the grill (a very LARGE grill, mind you) always add up to a great time!
If you were there, you heard me share our vision for doing “out of the box” stuff like that from time to time. Our conviction is that worship is more than singing songs every week (or every other week…) next to somebody you don’t really know. Worship is an everyday, fixing-our-eyes-on-Jesus, loving-each-other kind of thing. As Paul says in his letter to the Romans, we are to “offer [our] bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.” Instead of checking in for a “worship service,” we served each other–encouraging one another and getting to know one another because of Jesus. It’s not your typical Sunday “church”–but it is a spiritual act of worship!
I shared earlier this week with our leaders that I’d re-read the following quote from the book AND. The author has just been sitting in an old cathedral in Scotland that’d been converted to a pub. Christianity there is all but gone. He says this:
“I began to ask God fresh questions about what it meant for me to be faithful to him, about the nature of God’s reign on the earth, about the extent of evil and its power to fight against God’s ways, and about what life might feel like if the church were to continue on the current path (toward irrelevance). How much would it cost me if I chose to fight against the natural gravity and pressure of life and grave my all to him?…I was reminded of the creativity and power of God. I wondered what God could do with an entire generation who loves him but won’t settle for stale church anymore. What could God do with and army of Kingdom peasants who have no interest in safety, religion, or money, but who want to help people experience the presence of his Kingdom in the here and now?”
I’m not casting stones at “traditional” churches…or any church for that matter. But, I have had several recent conversations about church and life and people being invested in the vision and mission Jesus has us here for. Part of the reason we shake things up on Sundays is to purposefully avoid “stale church.” It forces us to remember that who we are and the way we “worship” Mon-Sat is just as (if not more?) important than what we do when we gather at the YMCA. Our “spiritual act of worship” is to remember that we are an army of Kingdom peasants, learning to love one another and live on mission to bless our friends and neighbors and classmates because of Jesus. We do that all to help people experience the presence of this Kingdom we’ve encountered in the here and now.
At Restoration, we have our challenges to go along with our many successes…but I really believe we’re continuing to move in the right direction. As we move into summer and vacations and all, I just want to encourage you to remember what you’re here for. Remember what God wants to do with us–folks who love him and don’t want to settle for stale church. Let your spiritual acts of worship spill over into your workday and your kids’ camp and your weekend get-togethers. Let the love of Jesus compel you to take that relational risk or give that money so someone else might experience grace. Offer your calendar as a living sacrifice–not adding to it, but simply asking Jesus to lead you into it. And then rest in what He is doing in the midst of it.
Stale church is about showing up on Sundays to consume a “worship service.” Restoration is about the acts of worship that happen as we follow Jesus into the conversations and parties and unpredictable moments all throughout the week. Then, we gather to worship the God who invited us into all of those things so we might have a taste of His creativity and power.
Thanks for being unwilling to settle for a stale church.