Being the Church

Pretty frequently I am told of a “thread” being involved in some act of service that has nothing to do with Tapestry. A few times I have learned of a group of “threads” establishing a small group Bible study that I didn’t know anything about. Let me make this blatantly clear, I LOVE WHEN I HEAR ABOUT SERVICE AND STUDY INVOLVEMENT THAT I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT.

Seriously it is one of my favorite things because it means that the “threads” aren’t being dependent upon Tapestry as an organization setting up ministry opportunities. Instead they are being the church. Here are a few examples, but I could list others.

Elizabeth – She and others saw a need while they were on various international trips and they decided to do something about it. Together they started Disability Support International. As a group they “advocate, support, and empower to improve the lives of children with disabilities in developing countries so they can live life to the fullest.” She didn’t think to herself “Gee I wish the church would start something like this so I can be a part of it.” Nope she jumped to it and has since asked the church to be a part of it.

John – I go to the Place of Peace meal each week where I pray for the meal and just make myself available for anyone who wants someone to pray for them. Do you know who I see there every week? John. Pretty much every week he is there making himself available to do whatever is necessary and much more importantly eating a meal with and talking with anyone he believes could use some comradery for the evening, which I believe is the most important thing that happens at the PoP meals. I didn’t ask John to start doing this. I didn’t set it up for him. He just did it.

Conor – I don’t know what day of the week it is but Conor goes to the ECI Warming Center during the period  of the evening that I am told from Tiffani is the most difficult for her to get someone. He is the worker that is there to make sure everyone’s needs are met and that it is a safe place for people to sleep off some of our very cold nights. He said something a while back about wanting to be of service to the homeless population in our area. I think I pointed him to ECI but I’m not sure I did. All I know is that Conor didn’t wait for Tapestry to start something with ECI that he could serve within. Nope he just jumped to it

Natalie & Eric – If you were at Tapestry’s Sunday morning worship gathering this past Sunday you may have noticed that Eric & Natalie weren’t there. This would have been obvious with Eric since instead of him leading us in singing Sarah & Fawnda were doing so (thanks for doing that ladies, you were wonderful). The Glaze family was gone because as a family they play roles in the wonderful Special Olympics of our area. They are following in a family tradition of saying a few Sundays a year “we are going to skip church to go and be the church with some wonderful individuals who ho can do some amazing things with a little help”, and since they are bringing their girls with them and getting them involved they are setting up a new generation to do this too.

These are only four recent stories. I could write about others in the church fostering kids, reaching out to “at risk” kids, helping people make it through things they couldn’t make it through on their own. The reason I bring these four stories up is because of a statement I once heard. The statement is “Churches end up doing what is praised from the pulpit.” Whether this is a good thing or not is another discussion but regardless I think there is a great deal of truth in the statement. I believe that churches that brag on people doing church activities tend to get more people to do church activities. I believe that churches that brag on people bringing guests to church typically get more guests to brought to church. Etc. Etc.

All these things are good things but I want to brag on people randomly seeing areas in which Jesus might want them to serve and jumping to it. I’m not worried about you serving in the church organization, I’m sure that’ll be covered. Actually I find that usually the people who are serving outside the church are also serving in the church. Of the 5 people I mentioned above almost all are already doing acts of service in the church from leading music, to operating our lyric slides, to taking care of the nursery.  The church organization will be fine because people who serve Jesus outside the church walls typically also serve Jesus inside the church (or in our case gym) walls.

See a need, fill a need.

I remember watching the movie Robots with our boys. In that movie Bigweld, the inventor/idol of the lead character has a catch phrase. It is “See a need, fill a need.” I think that is a pretty good model for the church. What I hope you hear from our “pulpit” (in our case that equals a music stand and my stool with all the stickers on it) is basically “see a need, fill a need.” Now let’s go do that. I can’t wait to be surprised by what I hear.

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