I know it’s just a small thing.
In many church circles it would never be brought up at all.
We have churches working to rid the world of malaria. We have churches who are opening homeless shelters or building wells in the far off reaches of Africa. We have churches who are finding new ways to minister to “the nones” (those of no religious affiliation) and we have churches that are revitalizing whole neighborhoods.
And all of this is awesome. It’s very awesome. Our God is an awesome God.
I know of churches that are running thrift stores and churches that are educating those around the world to the horrors of human trafficking. I have seen churches lead recycling campaigns in order to help the environment and churches that are taking to the streets in support of equality for all. Look at all the church-affiliated hospitals! There’s even one in our small town working on behalf of our local population.
Churches are doing wonderful, big, and kingdom-revealing work in the world.
I don’t have anything that “big” to share today. I have nothing to offer that is altering the course of this world of ours on a grand scale. The thing I’m talking about it much smaller than that.
And, perhaps, some may question if it’s even worth sharing…
You see, we hand out cookies at our church. I’ve written about it before…HERE…and HERE. In short, we bless the community around us by baking cookies then walking around the town handing them out. It’s simple. And, while it doesn’t require a huge amount of effort, it’s a very relational way to reach out to the surrounding community. It opens the door to conversation and it’s something that everyone, young and old, can participate in.
But, that’s not the big thing I’m talking about.
This is what happened…
A couple of Sundays ago we “flung” some cookies around the community. It was, as usual, a joy. But then, a few days afterwards one of our laypersons emailed me and talked about an event in the community for military veterans. It’s called “Combat Fishing Day” and puts veterans out on boats for a day to fish for salmon and halibut. The layperson who contacted me asked if we could provide cookies for the veterans…to thank them for their service and bless them as they go out fishing.
“YES!” was my enthusiastic response. And on Sunday I gave her a big hug…nearly crying as I thanked her for this.
Now, you may wonder what the big deal is. You may think to yourself that this is just a small thing. But you’d be wrong.
In this simple act I had a layperson see a way to bless persons in the community and move to make that blessing happen through the church body. In this simple act I had a layperson see how God is already moving in the community (boat captains offering fishing trips to veterans) and see how the the church could partner with what God is already doing.
I really like it when I’m able to see a way to be in mission in the world and the church comes along for the ride to be a blessing in the world.
I really LOVE it when laypersons do this themselves. That’s discipleship in practice. That’s getting beyond doing church together but actually being the church together.