Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It has been here all along

Last week I discovered I lived two miles from a lake!  It is called the Glenn Cunningham Reservoir and it is actually a pretty good sized lake for our area.  We found it by accident.  On our way home from Walmart I looked to my wife and asked, "I wonder what is down that road?"  So we turned left instead of going straight like normal.  We discovered three baseball fields, a garden store, an RV construction plant, and signs for a neighborhood named after a Lake Cunningham.  Our imaginations immediately asked, "Where is Lake Cunningham?  I didn't know there was a lake around here." 

So we broke out Google maps on our phones...well she did it on her phone because I was driving. Anyway we found the lake.  It was nice.  It has lots of RV space, you can rent boats, there is even a trail to walk around it, though I imagine it would take some time.  My first response upon seeing it was, "I can't believe this was here all this time."  There are no signs.  And we had a major drought last year and it was really hot, how nice would it have been to go to the lake?

I think our churches at times are a lot like this lake.  It is a wonderful, refreshing, and fun place to be.  But there are no signs in the community that the church is there.  They are amazing places of worship but have a hard time sharing that beauty with others.  I am not talking about literal signs.  Many churches have more publicity than is necessary to try and attract people into their worship services.  I am talking about presence.  Are there signs that you are present in your community? Do others know you exist based on ministry to and with the community?  Or perhaps like this lake it is for a select group of people who already know where it is...
What I like most about the missional church concept is that presence matters.  We are encouraged to go and be with people where they are.  The missional church often say's something to the effect "Join God in what he is doing."  In other words you get to participate in God's Living Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.  But like this lake we sometimes hide the Kingdom of God or demand that others know the rules on how to get there.  My hope is that we teach ourselves and our churches how to better share the lake with all.  I hope we realize that the Kingdom of God is in our midst and has been all along, just like the lake.  But hey sometimes we just get lucky and stumble across it because we turned left instead of going straight.

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