When I answered my phone I was not expecting to hear, ‘we are locked in, can you come and let us out’.
We had a BMS Action Team with us for the week and they and some of our other young adults had met at the church for a meal. The people who had arranged the meal left the front door slightly ajar when they went home but then somehow it got closed and as a result the Action Team and the others got locked in.
Before releasing them, I took this photo as a bit of fun, but as I looked at it later on I wondered if it is a picture of what God wants for his church?
It’s not unusual for most of the energy and thought in church life to go into what happens inside a church building and in particular into what Sunday services are like. In contrast to this, Jesus didn’t teach his disciples anything about services or how to run church activities. Could it be that many churches have lost the plot? Are we focusing mainly on things that aren’t the things that Jesus wants us primarily to do?
It is important to note that Jesus taught about growing in our faith and I’m not trying to say that spiritual growth isn’t important. It just strikes me that spiritual growth and discipleship in the gospels looks quiet different to standard church life.
Is it time for us to break out of our churches and to rediscover that following Jesus is about life and not just what we do on a Sunday morning or in a church building?
BMS Action Teams is a Christian gap year programme for 17 – 23 year olds to serve God around the world. One month’s training, six months overseas and two months UK mission tour. It’s a chance for you to get involved in what God is doing across the world. An opportunity to plunge yourself into another culture, share the love of Jesus in practical ways, inspire others for mission and let God work in your life every step of the way.
When you consider what these young adults had signed up for, it was especially ironic that they were locked in a church. They were travelling and discovering what God is doing across the world, living out their faith. They had and were visiting churches but they weren’t (usually anyway!) locked purely into church life.
If you are a part of a church, what dominates your church life? Is it thinking only about what happens in services and internal activities or do you have a deep desire to live out the good news that you have found in Jesus?
Do you consider the church to be yours, as a place to shape in away that you personally find pleasing or do you consider yourself a disciple of Jesus? Will we surrender to him and allow him to shape us in a way that is pleasing to him?
Can I encourage you to read a gospel this week and as you do so to make a list of the sort of things that Jesus wants us to do.
If we call Jesus Lord, we really ought to do what he wants and this means that for many of us that it’s time to break out of our churches and to live in a way that pleases him.
Incidentally, the Action Team were never trapped in the church. They could have gone out of either of our fire exits at any point if they had thought about it. Perhaps breaking out of church and living for Jesus might be easier than we might think!