Monday, November 17, 2008

What the Church Does Best

I have heard echos all day long. This morning I set out to contact as many of the families who lost everything in the Tea Fire last weekend. Time and time again I heard them say, "Yes the fire was horrible, but Oh the worship was tremendous!!" The church staff strategized all weekend to find a suitable off-site location (Montecito Country Club) for worship. They planned on 150-200 and almost 400 showed up. 11 families who lost everything were there and gave testimony to God's grace and mercy. Hands were laid on these families, songs were sung, prayers were made for thanks and intercession, lament and supplication. The sermon was traded for witnessing and the Lord's Supper provided food for the hungry travelers. As for me? I was 30,000 feet in the air flying home. The staff planned, drove and executed worship without a senior pastor...very well. Hooray!
Crisis times help the church remember what is essential and what is secondary. Gathering, singing, praying, caring are non-negotiably central to the vitality of the body of Christ. When we do that, everything else falls into place. But when that is not present, it's time to shut the doors and turn our buildings into condos. Crisis times also reveal the truth that Alan Hirsch points out graphically in "The Forgotten Ways" that the two or three gathered in Jesus' name have all the requisite DNA to be the full and powerful body of Christ. Ordained senior pastors are valuable, but not absolutely necessary. If we get hit by trucks, the church goes on. I saw the church I serve go on and minister in and through the staff and the body. How grateful I am to serve this church!


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