“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Matthew 25:40 (NIV UK)
These days there’s a lot of discussion about what church ought to look like. Do you have to gather in a cathedral? Can you meet in a high school gym? Or what about a coffee shop? Where do we draw the line? Well, a group in Ventura, USA, has started an outreach ministry that I think will re-define the concept of what “going to church” looks like.
When the 2008 recession hit, many families found it difficult to find the time and money to get their clothes washed. And that’s when a church in Ventura stepped in. For the last 12 years, they’ve been raising enough money to ‘take over’ a local Laundromat once a month to wash people’s clothes for free.
Isn’t that great? They didn’t hide behind church doors or lecture everybody about ‘right’ theology. Instead, this church let their faith move them to action. They went out into the community and saw a need. And together, they figured out how to get involved in a way that signalled what Christ was already doing among them. Not only are they serving others as our Lord commanded, but they’re also spending fellowship-time with a group of individuals who might not have been reached in a ‘normal church’ setting.
What this ministry reminds me is that Church is more than just a building. It’s more than a place where you come once a week to worship. Church is a living and breathing extension of Christ’s ministry. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus tells his disciples, “Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). That’s what Church is to me—two or more believers gathering together in the name of our Saviour, building up one another through corporate worship, prayer and studying the Word of God. This can take place in our work or school situations or anywhere where we encounter others in our community or neighbourhood.
I’m so grateful for those of you within our GCI/WCG family who are already modelling this type of missional church. Your updates continually inspire me. I want to encourage all of our churches to open up our doors, to band together in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and, in your own way, to participate in this great thing we call ‘Church’. I hope to see you out there!
Righteous Father, for many Christians this walk we have with you becomes an academic exercise. But that’s not what you want; you want us to live your way of life, reflecting your mind in everything. This is a divine walk, Father, and for that to happen we need your every-day help. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.