For the last few Saturdays, my wife, Mell and I travelled to nearly every church Bazaar we could find. We had a great time meeting people in a more relaxed way. I also bought enough cakes and pies to add at least 3 inches to my waistline. But church bazaars offer a unique opportunity to be the church in action.
For example: How does your church reach out to strangers? I saw a visitor wander into the church with a lost expression on her face. Immediately someone greeted her and showed her around. In a few minutes she was being introduced to others. Before long, she was eating Brunswick stew with two other women.
At several churches, people were quickly met and given a tour.
At another church I noticed a worker talking quietly to someone. Within minutes, she gently led the person to her pastor and left the room, I found out later, the customer was recently diagnosed with cancer.
Yes, the Bazaar is meant to be a fund raiser for the church and I enjoy being a participant but I also saw the church in action in other creative ways. George Barna in “Growing True Disciple” gives many examples of how to be the church:
· We worship not just on Sunday but every day of the week.
· Constant efforts to convert knowledge of faith into personal application.
· Complete submission to the Holy Spirit and hearts sensitive to sin.
· Joyfully share our resources – time, money, skills, information, etc.
· Deep commitment to building a life-changing community.
· Spontaneous demonstrations of selfless compassion toward those in need.
· Sharing our faith in natural and unforced ways based on relationships.
· We live different from the norm because of our faith.
· Our church projects an image of love, care and compassion
Paul shows us a great formula on how to be the church: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” (Col. 3:12-15)
· We are chosen by God to be holy people.
· We clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
· We should make allowance for each other’s faults.
· Remember the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others.
· We should clothe ourselves with love which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
· Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in our hearts.
· For as members of one body we are called to live in peace.
· Always be Thankful.
Would you like something more specific? Here are a few things you could do right now:
· Host a small group in your home.
· Donate a few Saturdays, to fix up houses.
· Participate with a church that is feeding meals to the needy.
· Help the Salvation Army ring their bells during the holiday season.
· Be a New Member Mentor: Help new people feel welcome and find their niche.
· Become a Children or Youth Volunteer:
· Building and Grounds – Help your church look welcoming.
· Meals on Wheels – Bring a hot meal to those who need it most.
· Christmas Child – Provide Christmas for a needy child chosen by local schools.
Visiting a few church bazaars I found many examples of the church in action. Every day we are given opportunities to be a representative for God.
Now, if I can only figure out how to lose twenty pounds.