What comes next?
That’s the question I’ve been asking myself recently. I want you to think about Christmastime ( I know a strange request in the middle of June!). We build up to Christmas for quite some time. In the church, the whole month od December and usually some of November is dedicated to Advent, and in stores oftentimes Christmas starts the day after Halloween, if not even earlier than that! Then we expend all our energy on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, then December 26th….just kind of happens. We don’t know what to do with ourselves.
I’m feeling that way a bit in the church right now. For the last fifteen months, we have been building to one primary goal; to get to a point where it is safe to worship in the church building. We had numerous meetings, took precautions, planned things out, replanned things every time something changed (which was a lot), and finally on June 6th we were open for business.
Now I certainly don’t want to take away from how great it feels to be back in the sanctuary with people. It truly does feel wonderful. But my mind is always looking forward. We’re back, we’re worshipping, it’s great, but now we need to ask ourselves what’s next. Without overriding goals to aim towards, organizations often end up aimless, never sure what they should be doing with themselves.
Our major next step of course now that we’ve gotten back into the building is to get back out of the building! Scripture tells us that our mission is not fully in the church. Matthew writes, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28: 19-20). Further, James writes “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).
In several places in the scripture it is detailed that we should be meeting together and celebrating and praising the Lord, but that is only one side of our mission. The other side of our mission, and perhaps the even more important side, is the building of the kingdom, the spreading of the Word of Christ. Unfortunately, that can’t just happen on Sunday mornings. It’s a calling that must be lived into our in the world.