As part of our goal of bringing the message and mission of Jesus out into the Harvest places, we thought you might enjoy reading some of the personal thoughts of someone out there trying to do just that. We hope it encourages you as you labor where you are. You can read previous Harvest Diary entries here.
Playing Hooky on Sundays
It was Sunday and I was sitting in my PJs, drinking coffee and leisurely writing in my journal. This was so weird. Waking up on Sunday morning and not putting on my least stained (hashtag mom life) shirt and wrangling our family off to Sunday school felt really wrong. Sure, our family had instituted something we have dubbed “Family church” on Sundays (more on that another day), and we still considered Sunday our Sabbath day. But no longer were we spending two hours of that day in a church building! In fact, this whole having church in the harvest flipped just about everything on its head. Before we were used to going to church every Sunday for about two hours. If we were ‘dedicated’ Christians we might even attend Church for a prayer meeting or a Bible study too (but that is, of course, optional). It was all very cut and dry and for this type-A minded girl, it looked pretty good on a calendar… but now things were different! And not just on Sunday mornings.
Seven Days of Church
When we started church in the harvest places, our greatest desire was to reach people that would not feel comfortable going to a traditional church- or maybe they even worked on Sundays and could never attend. Either way, we wanted to make the message of Jesus accessible to these people no matter when they wanted to meet! And thus Tuesday night church and Thursday night church and Friday afternoon church all came into existence! It looked like meeting with people for prayer times and for coffee to teach people how to read their Bible for the first time. We had people over for dinner to get to know them better, and we had people over for game nights so that we could create a better sense of community. And that wasn’t even when we met together as larger groups for worship and studying the Bible together! Our week was full. When you start to think about all that goes into church:
Teaching. Worship. Prayer. Fellowship. Serving. Training.
It could really start to feel overwhelming, unless you decide to not just give certain small sections of your calendar to Jesus. Instead, give Him the whole day. Actually, go ahead and give Him the whole week.
Throw Out the Christian Box
Essentially that is the opposite of what I had been doing. I had been putting my Christian life in a box. But once I took away the box, pretty much every hour of my day was up for grabs!
By the way, if you’re reading this and already feeling exhausted and stressed by the idea that now every second of every day now belongs to Jesus, then don’t worry, that’s how I felt at first too! But then it became such a joy to realize that we can make “church” pretty much every part of our day! Hanging with your kids at the park? Invite some people that you’re mentoring along! Bonus points if they have kids too! Hanging out in the extra-long voters line for midterm elections? Strike up a conversation about the state of the world with the guy in front of you! Jesus is the perfect segue.
The Idol of “My Time”
Probably our biggest battle as modern day Christians is the busyness of our days! We are all held captive by the idea that we have no time! “Our time” is the idol to whom we are making sacrifices on an almost constant basis.
But, if instead, we start every morning by pulling out that calendar (or am I the only one with a color-coded planner? I did tell you I was type-A, afterall!) and instead of stressing about how we’re going to “fit it all in,” we take a minute to pray over it.
Pray over the work meetings, the soccer practices, the homework tutor and the dinner menu! Pray about the people we’ll meet, how we’re spending our down time as a family, and what time we get up in the morning. And we ask the Holy Spirit how we can take back all those things for Jesus.
A Different Agenda
I admit that many of those things can be “redeemed” for the Kingdom. Like soccer practice, what a great way to connect with people you might normally not get to know! Or work meetings, once again a great way to make connections with people that the Lord has placed in your life!
But, sometimes you have to give up your own schedule entirely. This last spring break we ended up doing a week long “mission trip” to the other side of our city. No fun vacations for our kids! And I must admit I was a hard sell. Instead of sleeping in for a week, every morning we all had to get up early and go to a trailer park for more praying and sharing the Gospel. I was not thrilled and I was worried my kids would really hate us by the end.
However, at the end of the week when we were baptizing 8 people in a horse trough, I was sold. You can NOT beat watching people get saved! It is really better than any vacation! Also, my kids that I had worried would hate the week? They had the BEST TIME making new friends and playing on a very old and definitely not up to code tilt-a-whirl at the trailer park playground. It was voted as the best spring break ever.
Are You IN?
Sometimes it might hurt to give up the idol of our “own time” but it will always be worth it. In the end we will find that we have just enough time to do all that the Lord has for us. I, for one, am looking forward to what this Spring Break will bring!
I do wonder, though, as you’re reading this- what struck you the hardest? Has/will transitioning into this idea of Church been hard for you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!