We attend a church plant. This means an established church sees a need for a new church in a certain community and sends some of their own to get it started. The original church provides financial support, staffing, mentoring, really a myriad of help to get the new church established. Our church is just older than our daughter, so six and a half. Through this experience in a new church, I have realized so many things established churches already have in place, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. We meet in a middle school so our weekday meeting options are limited.
Actually, it just means we have to get creative.
One of our local libraries has a large meeting room with glass windows so everyone walking by can see in it. And most Monday mornings, Tuesday mornings and Wednesday evenings, they see a group of 5-15 women praying, talking and conducting Bible study. Now, if we had our own church building, how many of these passersby would see a group of Christ-followers hard at work chasing God?
We have also had to figure out where to host celebrations for life-changing occurrences, wedding by wedding and baby by baby. The church of my youth, they throw a most excellent shower! And I believe every bride and baby deserves to be celebrated. I also find these showers offer great opportunities to shine our lights for Jesus to many who may not attend church otherwise. Coming together in this way brings the women in a church closer together as well.
So, we considered showers. First, what group should host these? At my former church, the Sunday School class of ladies 40+ took on that responsibility. It was, after all, often their daughters who were getting married and having the babies. I hear of many churches relying on small groups to shower the ladies of their individual groups. Another good idea.
But here we are, in a new church that doesn’t have a formal Sunday School hour, with many individuals and families not plugged into a small group yet. Which got me thinking. I serve as women’s ministry coordinator. Women get married and have babies. Must be a perfect fit, right?!
So, we set out to host a baby shower for our youth minister’s wife. A quiet gal who doesn’t really need to say much because her sweet smile just shouts “Jesus loves you!” I asked Brittany if we could throw her a shower, hosted by one of our ladies in her home (remember no church building). Actually, I asked another girl in our church first. Our congregation never seems to just have one cute little baby at a time. We reproduce in quantities of at least three, usually five, within weeks of each other. But the first girl turned me down. Said no to a baby shower where she would receive gifts! Something about a busy fall season and several showers already planned by family, work, friends. Apparently, her baby shower train had already left the station.
But back to Brittany. She agreed to have the shower! OK! But then she thew me for a loop. She asked if people could just bring used gifts because they didn’t want to put anyone out and were totally fine with leftovers. Happy even. What?! I told her by no means was I going to invite ladies to a celebration of God’s latest miracle, and ask them to bring used items for presents.
We had the shower; great food, great fellowship and lots of new baby gifts. And that day, our church became a little more like a family.
Isn’t that what we are really trying to do? Give people a church home.
Where they can know we want to live all of life with them. The celebratory times, the hard times (that particular baby has needed lots and lots of prayers but is getting stronger every day). We want to bring meals and shower new gifts upon the recipients when they get married and have babies. We even want to join them at funerals and visitations. We would be honored to visit those in the hospital. Because, new church or old church, building or none, these events bring us together. And with an enemy always on the attack, we need to be together.