As you probably know, we’ve been ministering to a few families (the number has slowly grown) for the past few years. An important part of that ministry is developing a house church “congregation.”
I use quotation marks because it doesn’t seem right to use a formal term. The whole thing is rather informal. We don’t have a physical pulpit, we don’t have a formal building to meet in, we barely find time to even meet together. Why is that?
Except for our youngest couple, the other three couples (the husbands) work the typical 6 day work week. Sometimes those are long 10 or 12 hour days. One one of the four couples has a vehicle, and the one that does, has only been able to work up to getting a loan for it just in the past two months. Sometimes they’re required to work 7 days.
One of our men was once required to work 21 days in a row. This is not an easy life. The pay is in the single digits dollar equivalent per hour. Living expenses are lower than in the USA, but surprisingly, not always by much. Sometimes things here cost more than in the USA. All that to say, life is not all that easy (as it isn’t for you either).
Here when one needs to do something important that isn’t related to work, it can be difficult to get it done. If it takes an entire day, and the work week is Monday to Saturday, then guess what day it has to be? Right. Sunday. What about “church?”
You gotta do what you gotta do.
So occasionally, attendance on Sunday is a challenge when that’s prime time for not just meeting together with other believers and enjoying some fellowship and some spiritual food, but it is sometimes the only block of time that important things can get done.
Tomorrow is one of those times for one of our couples. They have to move. They have to move now. This means they have to move tomorrow. As you know, moving takes time and it takes people. It’s not an easy thing to do.
So, like it or not one of our couples is moving tomorrow. His brother (also one of our “congregants”) is going to help him. His cousin (also one of our “congregants”) is also going to help him. So, that leaves us with one other couple and us left for having the house church service.
So what is “church?” Is it not a local representation of the body of Christ? Is its purpose not just about worship but about family, community, and encouragement? As we’re learning in our new study of 1 John, following Christ is about truth AND love. Even a Pharisee would work on the Sabbath to pull his animal out of a pit. Is not the family of God more important than a mule?
What is the point of all this rambling?
Tomorrow, “church” will be helping the family move. That’s the truth…and that’s love in action. Effective edification of the body sometimes means we tend to its physical needs. Yes, spiritual needs are more important than physical needs, but sometimes when we tend to one, we’re tending to the other as well.
“I’d Rather See A Sermon”
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day:
I’d rather one would walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil, and more willing than the ear,
Fine council is confusing, but example’s always clear.
The best of all the preachers are men who live their creed,
For to see good put into action, is what everyone needs.
I can soon learn how to do it, if you let me see it done,
I can catch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you in the high advice you give,
But there is no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
When I see an act of kindness, I am eager to be kind;
When a weaker brother stumbles, and a stronger stays behind.
Just to see if I can help him, then the wish grows strong in me,
To be as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today,
Is not the one that tells them, but the one that shows the way.
That’s life as we know it down here. Please pray for us and for this church and for this move. We have no official name as a church, but we have faces! Tomorrow’s “sermon” will be delivered by hands and feet, and we will use them for God’s glory and to edify the family.
I suspect I could get burned at the stake of public opinion in certain parts of the Christian world for “skipping church,” but here I stand, I can do no other! Hey…could you put those matches down and lend me a hand for minute? 🙂