Just exited a Lutheran church’s parking lot -after missing my destination and doing a turn around- and I noticed something that struck me. As I was leaving the lot to go onto the main street, there was a sign that said
You Are Now
The Mission Field
I. Love that!
Some people leave church after Sunday morning service and think, ‘Okay, that’s done. Check it off the to-do list.’ I used to. I’d check that ‘go to church’ box and feel I was done with my religious requirement for the week.
I know better now, that church attendance is not the whole of our Christian life, but that sign made me think; you know, in reality, it’s just about the opposite. We go to church to worship God and to encourage, fellowship and pray with other Christians. But our work as a Christian is -for the most part- everywhere else but church. With the exception of pastors, worship leaders, and others whose calling is working directly in ministry. For most of us, church should be the jumping off point to a real life of service, to accomplishing God’s purpose.
I’ve since learned that being a Christian is not about what you do in church. Not very much, anyway. If you look at Christianity as “Love God, Love Others” , then being in church on Sunday is just a small part of the first half of that equation; the Loving God part. But you’re a Christian every day of the week. You’re a Christian in the things that you do and say outside of church. And in the way that you choose to spend your time, and the sacrifices you are willing to make for others…
I used to think I was doing God a favor by going to church. But it’s the other way around.
I think we actually go to church to get filled up. We go to church to get inspired, to get ideas about how better to serve others. Maybe to actually rest from service a little. To let God’s grace wash over us. And to be refreshed.
I saw an interview with Jeff Foxworthy, a stand up comic, about serving those in need in your community. He said ” My life is the best when I’m not the most important thing in it.” And, ” Once you’ve tasted purpose, you can’t be happy with just existing anymore.” (That’s a sermon in itself.)
Foxworthy talks with Andy Stanley, pastor of Northpoint church in Atlanta about his mission and what he is doing in the homeless community in Atlanta. It’s a great interview and it is worth checking out: http://northpoint.live/messages/be-rich-2017/andy-stanley-with-jeff-foxworthy-just-say-yes
So your mission field really does start when you leave church.
Sunday afternoon does not have to be the end of your spirituality for the week!
It’s just the beginning.