What’s the church here for, anyway?

by Wayne Schwab

I was the interim pastor in a small church in Essex in upstate New York on Lake Champlain.  For some reason, Essex hosted meetings of the International Bagpipe Organization.

A piper walked through the church hall.  He asked, “What’s the church here for anyway?”

I answered, “God is most interested in how we live Monday to Saturday.  Sunday is to help us to do it better.”

He liked the answer.  I’d been thinking this way for some time.  At last I had said it.

That’s a key to living God’s mission every day – especially to what a church should be doing.

We say a church needs to be friendly and open to anyone who walks through its doors.

— I now say a church really needs to help everyone walking through its doors to live better on Monday because they were there on Sunday.

We say a church should offer community – very important in a world that can be very lonely.

—  I now say a church really needs to help you to build community in your worlds outside the church.

We say a church needs vitality – to be alive within its walls and alive in its town or city.

— I now say a church really needs to be known for how its members are making the world around them more loving and more just wherever they are 24/7/365.

Seven daily mission fields?

by Wayne Schwab

“You say ‘living God’s mission.’  Just where do I live God’s mission?”

“Sam, you live it right where you are each day from Sunday to Saturday.”

“I’m in lots of different places each week.  Like here I am, at supper with my family.

  • I started with them at home this AM.
  • I went to work.
  • I read the papers on the bus – the local paper for city news and the Times for Barack’s State of the Union.
  • Time in the hobby shop over lunch.
  • And, on the bus home, an ‘arrow prayer’ for my sister’s marriage .”

“Those places are mission fields, Sam – your home, your work, your neighborhood, your part in the issues of the world out there, your leisure time at the hobby shop, and your spiritual health in prayer.  God’s at work in each of those places, too, to make them more loving and more just.  My guess is that you were trying to be caring and fair — to be God’s person — in each of those places today.  You were already part of God’s mission.”

“What?  Me, a missionary!”

“You sure are. Sam.  And I bet that before the week is out you will be reading another lesson at church – your seventh mission field.”