Being around small children as they discover the world helps us to see the world the way that they see it, to set aside our skeptical, world weary cynicism and rediscover… wonder. After a few dozen laps around the sun, it’s easy to forget how amazing our world really is. But in the company of a child that is seeing the world for the first time, we rediscover how amazing butterflies are, or a weed fighting for survival in the crack of a sidewalk, a chick hatching from an egg, or a million other things. When they see it, point to it, and marvel at it, we suddenly remember how amazing those things really are as well.
And thanks to last month’s stewardship campaign, the people of Christ Church were able to experience something that was very similar. As a part of learning about Extravagant Generosity, everyone was asked to return cards asking them to “name a person who made a spiritual difference in your life,” or “What do you love about your church,” or “What is God asking you to do?”, or “Name one hope for our church in the future.” And, while not everyone participated, the answers helped all of us to see our church through the eyes of others. After years, or dozens of years, of membership, it’s easy to fall into a routine and see the church as the “same old – same old.” But reading the answers, and seeing the things for which others were grateful, helped all of us to rediscover church that otherwise seemed so familiar. In a way, all of us were able to rediscover church.
We remembered how extraordinary our worship services are, how much we love our Sunday school classes, Sunday sermons, small groups, being surrounded by people of faith, the encouragement of others, the friendships that we’ve made, the spirit of service that infuses everything, the way that our friends have become family to us, and even the opportunities that we have to work together making peanut brittle, working on Habitat projects, and other things.
One week we were asked to think about what God was asking us to do. That was harder. We had a more difficult time thinking about, and answering that question, and fewer people did. But the answers that came showed that God was, and is, at work here and calls us to a renewed commitment to help others, serve others, give of our time, our talents, and our presence, and to be in tune with the needs of others.
And finally, we were asked to name one hope that we had for the future of our church. Not surprisingly, some of us hoped that we would see better attendance, more members, more youth, more children, but we also hoped for more opportunities to pray, to do good in our neighborhood, and to be of service to others.
First, I want to thank everyone for having the courage to think about, and write down, their answers to these questions each week. But also, I want to thank you for helping me, and for helping each other, to rediscover church. We hope that more people would find faith in Jesus, and we hope that more children, youth, and adults would come here. But why wouldn’t they? Why wouldn’t anyone want to come here? There are so many things that make our church special, vital, and important that many of the people that we know would love to be a part of it, and would undoubtedly be blessed, strengthened, and encouraged by it. Of course, Christ Church would be a blessing to the lives of others. If only they knew what they were missing.
So, why don’t we invite them?
As we have rediscovered the gifts and blessings that our presence at Christ church is to us, it seems more obvious than ever that we would be selfish to keep it to ourselves. People need what we have. Many of the people we know are desperately searching for the sense of belonging, the purpose, the family, and the other blessings that we found at Christ church. What we have is so good, and so important, that we have an obligation to share what we have with the people around us. You’ve show us how much you love our church, you’ve told us.
Now go and tell your neighbors, your friends, and the people around you.
We have here is far too good to keep to ourselves.
People need what we have.
We need to share it.
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