This post appears, in slightly-altered form, in the September Panorama:
Here it is, almost fall again! Where did the summer go?
A highlight of the summer for me was our brief trip to the Navajo Nation in Arizona. We were privileged to visit St. Michael’s Association for Special Education and the evangelical (Protestant) church at Hunter’s Point, along with several others from our church.
This type of ministry is the essence of what Jesus meant when he told us to be his witnesses (Acts 1:8). Too often, we assume that someone else will do it for us. “The church does that,” we think. But “the church” can’t go on mission trips. The church can’t visit someone in the hospital. The church can’t tutor someone who’s trying to learn to read or to speak English. People have to do those things, and I’m so happy that people who do, call this church home.
The church, of course, has a role in carrying out the mission of Christ in this world. Sometimes, we have to partner with others in our church to achieve what Christ calls us to do. As just one example, there are homeless people in our community who could actually afford to rent an apartment–except for the startup costs (first and last month’s rent, utility hookups, etc.). Believers at Desert Hills help to address that need by giving A.R.C.H. money through their contributions to the church’s mission budget. (For another example, see the article in this issue. We support the food pantry individually by donating food, and together as a church with our contributions.)
The second thing our church does is equip the saints (you and me) for ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16). The things we do as the gathered church–our Sunday worship, fellowship activities, and education programs –all function like the “huddle” a football team goes into before each play. When we’re finished with our “huddle” we disperse, going back into the world to carry out our Commission.
With summer winding down, we will be resuming our second worship service. Last spring, our two services were practically identical; the only significant difference was that the choir sang in the first service. This fall, we’re going to be looking for ways to give each service its own flavor. The choir will participate in the first service, as before. In the second service, I’m going to begin using multimedia (i.e., a projector). I have some ideas about how that can enhance the worship experience. This will give me a “laboratory” to experiment, by projecting scriptures and prayers on the screen, referring to other scriptures, including visual aids, and so forth.
No matter which worship service you prefer, you will be able to participate in a Bible Study this fall. If you come for the first service, stay for a Bible study afterwards. Or come for a Bible study during the first service, then join us in worship afterward.
It’s always exciting in the fall as we shake off our summer doldrums and ramp up our programs. I think our “huddles” will be even more helpful to us this fall. But nobody goes to a game to watch the huddle. What really matters is what we do after the huddle. If you’ve got ideas about things we can do as a church to help one another carry out the Great Commission between Sundays, give me a call. I’d love to talk with you about them. And until next time, be a blessing!