Having grown up in a Southern Baptist context in the 1950s and 1960s, I recall being at church all day Sunday (well, we had a lunch break and then came back in the evening for “training union” and a warmed over sermon left on the back burner a little too long so it was crusty and well, . . .burnt. The saving grace of that was, the preacher was so tired by the time he entered the pulpit that he ended up preaching maybe 20 minutes instead of 45).
Anyway, we also had a midweek service. And once I became a teen/adult and served on a committee then I realized that when I signed up to love God and neighbor I had apparently also signed up to be at church as many days as possible.
This may come as a shock to some but look, the point is not to stay here inside the church. Some liken the church to an ark or ship that makes safe passage and I like that to some degree as long as you don’t press it so that we are literally stuck together at the church building more days than not and for hours at a time. The point to the church, and I suppose I should capitalize it, so: the point to the Church is actually to go out into the world and be salt and leaven. By the way, you can look through the Gospels and will be hard pressed to find Jesus speak of the church more than once. He did preach often about the Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God.
If that is a minimalist approach to the nature of the Church then so be it. I think it a scriptural approach as well. Don’t get me wrong, I want you here on Sunday and worshipping in the community of believers is essential. But Riverside is an oasis. Drive your camels in, park them, then sit under our shade tree, crank the bucket down into the cool-water-well we have, drink deeply and then fill your canteen and head back out there. Because you know what? The world needs healing and is in great need of people who love it and repair it. See you Sunday. If you don’t have a camel, just walk. Either way, let’s be the Church. ~PSTR