This past Sunday my husband was feeling sick and decided to stay home from church. Normally we all attend the same church together, where he is in charge of worship. Knowing that he wasn’t going, it dawned on me that I didn’t have to go to our normal church. I had always wanted to visit the youth we’ve been working with at their own churches, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
On Sunday morning I got up and ready, then checked out service times online. One of the two churches we’ve been working with started fairly soon, so I planned on attending that service and maybe making it to the other church another week.
I got to the service right as it was starting. As I walked in to take a seat in the back, I caught the eye of one of the teens whom I’ve grown close to this past year. We exchanged smiles of acknowledgement and she went on with her involvement in worship. The mom and sister of another of the gals whom I’ve grown close to, were also there. Finally, I connected with another of the youth leaders who was in charge of worship. I appreciated the pastor’s sermon and there were a few things that he said which made an impression on me.
Their church doesn’t have a building yet, so the set-up is not ideal. It takes place in a community building which is rented. Tables and chairs are set up facing the front, so it almost felt like being in a class. The service had some liturgical elements to it, which I am not used to, but it was fine. They also served open communion during the service, and I got to participate in that. (Side note–I was surprised when I tasted real wine, which the bread had been dipped into. Maybe I’ve never had communion with real wine before?) At the end of the service I had time to chat a bit with the people I knew, and then realized that the second service was starting at the other church in a couple of minutes. I wasn’t planning on attending two services, but it worked out so perfectly that I decided to go.
The second church that we have worked with is one that I know more people at, simply because of the number of homeschooling families that attend. As soon as I walked in, I spotted three of the girls in youth group and we had a nice greeting. Then I spotted an adult leader friend to greet, before heading into service. I waved to a couple of the teen boys who were already seated, as I headed over to sit near some of the teen girls and their mothers. After the service was over I shook hands with a couple of the teen boys who were sitting in front of me, and then turned to the moms. We hugged and caught up with some good conversation. Then another of the youth leaders came over and I gave him the greetings which the youth leader of the other church had asked me to give. (It reminded me of the letters in the Bible where so-and-so sends greetings for so-and-so in the church.) We all chatted and eventually made our way toward the door. We finally said our farewells and I made my way home to have lunch with my family.
As I had been sitting in the second church, a thought struck me. When I think about our family going to minister in the inner city, I only think about our own church supporting us and sort of sending us off. But, what about these other two churches, whose youth leaders, teens and parents I have a connection with? Hadn’t my reception and fellowship at both places been warm and natural this morning? Didn’t I care about the teens in all three churches, and didn’t we have relationships that were valuable?
I was struck by the thought that these churches could work together both in our little community, and in the inner city once we were established. We would benefit from having support (and I’m not talking money here) from our old community, and they would benefit by having someone they know who could facilitate their working together in a relatively local area that’s in need. It would be one more way for our groups to work toward a common goal and deepen relationships. I think this idea came from God, so I’m planning on bringing it up the next time we’re all together. I’d like to hear what the others have to say about it, and get their brains thinking about the possibilities.