I want to share a story about Elmer and Brenda Sosa. Elmer and his wife Brenda have been attending First Christian Church for about a year now. Elmer comes from a Pentecostal background - and the stories he tells about his early church experiences are joyously delightful. He has brought a real joy to me in his sincere desire to ask a host of good questions about God and the church. Brenda comes from a Catholic background - interesting match,huh? - and she brings a sense of deep spirituality. If you meet them, you will find that Elmer is the talker and Brenda is the more reflective one. She reminds me of the old saying, "Still waters run deep."
We met for coffee this past week, and they both came with lots of questions (okay, actually Elmer had most of them...LOL!). We ended up talking for about an hour and a half, and it was a deeply rich experience for me.
I say that, because of all the quesitons they had, the one they were most concerned to have answered was, Where can we get involved? What can we do to bless the church? They explained to me that the reason they were asking was because they didn't want to simply attend church, but they wanted to serve Christ and serve the church. In essence, although they didn't use these exact words, they were asking how to "get on mission" through the church.
As a pastor, I love it when people ask that kind of thing and authentically seek how to live into an answer. Let me just say that again: I LOVE it when people ask that!
If you are reading this and feeling any judgment, please allow me to say, Please don't. I really do not intend that. Elmer and Brenda just serve us all as a reminder that church is a place where we gather to prepare for something else: Living into the mission of God. Saying that is a way to say also that FCC is taking on more and more that our reason for being is tied up with "being on mission" in the world. Encouragingly, this has already been happening as the Spirit of God has been prompting others to serve "their neighbors" as an expression of their love for God.
I think I will leave things there for now. More to come in later blogging. But I leave you with a thought. It's from a missiologist named Leslie Newbigin: "You cannot pray 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven' with sincere faith if you have no interest in making your faith visible in action."
Thanks to the Sosas, and to many others of you at FCC (I could tell lots of stories like this), for the questions that lead to answers that put us "on mission" in the world!