Church via Sports
I recently read a blog post about 'sports vs church.' I noticed that it was a popular item being shared on various social media platforms, and I wanted to offer our micro-church's thoughts on the subject. I landed on the title for this post because we want to learn how to be the church in everything we do, and not just center everything around what we do at certain times of the week.
This past Sunday I found myself, with my family, at the zoo. It was Memorial Day weekend, and we wanted something to do as a family where we might have the opportunity to run into other families.
Once we arrived at the zoo, I looked at my wife Anna, and I said, “We have to come to things like this more often on Sundays. Look at how many people are here instead of a church service. We need to be thinking of how we can do this, but also have the purpose of meeting people to get to know them.” This was actually a primary topic in our micro-church meeting last night.
We know that consistency is very important for us and our children to build relationships, to grow as disciples and to become disciple makers. But that consistency does not mean doing the exact same thing at the exact same time every week, though that might be a small part of it. That consistency means doing the same thing every day of our lives, and finding out how to meet those that are lost and to show them Jesus in our lives. This doesn’t mean that we know exactly what we are doing. We are learning, both the things that work and the things that don’t work. We will fail, and we want to fail because it helps us love others better. But if our children don't consistently see me and my wife doing this and living out what we are teaching them, they don't consistently meet new people, especially lost people, and they don't consistently get shown what Jesus has done for us and how we can show others, then how are we discipling them?
So what if we make a point, on Sunday morning especially, to go where the church is not, and love some people, just make friends with them with the only goal being to invite them into our lives and show them Jesus? One thing I have seen, and even felt as we have joined this movement is a feeling of ostracization from other believers because we are not at a service on Sunday mornings. I also know this because I used to think it myself whenever I saw someone on Sunday morning out in public. If we feel that now, how much more of a bridge could that feeling be burning to those that are not believers? What if, instead, we consistently went to places where we know people not “in church" go on Sunday mornings to be with them and get to know them? We must take care not to only befriend people, that is not our only purpose, but our purpose is also not to convert people. We need to find people to love with the love that Jesus has given us.
Our micro-church's focus is on families with small children. In general, these families spend time together doing things on Saturday and Sunday because they are working all throughout the week. If there are two days each week that I can try and make a point to meet, hang out with, or share a meal with unbelievers that we are reaching out to, why wouldn't I take advantage of those two days? For others it may be Tuesday nights, or Friday lunch, Thursday morning, or any other time. For us, it happens to be Saturday and Sunday.
Now, am I saying that gathering with believers is not important? Absolutely not! But I am not aware of any specific command that it must be on Sunday morning from 10AM - Noon. We meet with our church, our oikos, multiple times a week, usually at least 2 or 3 times but often more. Sure, if the only time I ever met with my church family was one day a week for a few hours, it would be a big deal to miss it.
So here is the question I pose. Why choose to pit church vs sports or anything outside of a safe, comfortable meeting on Sunday morning? Why don't we choose church via sports, or dance, or the zoo, or pick anything here. What if we all joined together and decided to make reaching the lost and making disciples our lives? What if we never had to choose between church and sports because our lives let us be the church? We can still let Sunday be about church and family and gathering with friends, but we can do it with a purpose, and in a way that our children will remember it for the rest of their lives.
Isaiah 58 says, "If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in."
What's more important, making sure we fill our head's with knowledge often without putting any of it to practice? Or putting what we already know into practice and through it, as Isaiah says, we will be built up and replenished.