Mell and I often traveled to Bazaars. We enjoyed the atmosphere as well as meeting people at various churches I supervised. I also bought enough cakes and pies to add inches to my waistline. Bazaars, however, also offer unique opportunities to be the church in action.
How does your church provide hospitality to strangers? A visitor wandered into a bazaar 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 sampling Brunswick and talking with two women.
At other bazaars, people were met at the door and offered a tour. At one 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 primarily intended to be a fund raiser, but bazaars and churches can be so much more. George Barna in “Growing True Disciples” reminds us that being the church is not just on Sunday:
- Worship not just on Sunday but every day of the week.
- Convert knowledge of faith into personal application.
- Joyfully share 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.
- Live different from the norm because of our faith.
- Project an image of love, care and compassion
The Apostle Paul has 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.” (Colossians. 3:12-15)
Some key phrases that should describe any church:
- 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.
- 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 to be the church in action:
- 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.
- 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.
At 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 find someone to help me eat these cakes and pies.
For further study and Small Groups
Title: Church Bazaars
Who Am I? What has been your best and worst experience with Church Bazaars?
Follow Up from last week: What action steps have you taken from your commitments last week?
Key Scripture: “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)
Scripture Notes: Colossians, like other letters is likely written while Paul is in prison or under house arrest in Rome. Colossae, the setting for the letter is about a hundred miles from Ephesus. The church at the time of this letter seems to be struggling with sinful heresy brought in from other faiths. At one-point people are questioning whether Christ is God. So, Paul is focusing on Christ being supreme in all things. In this chapter, Paul gives practical guidance on how to live our daily lives as Christians.
What’s the Point? The church should be in action seven days a week, not just on Sunday. What creative ways can we be the church in action?
- How can church bazaars become more of an opportunity for witnessing our faith as well as a fund-raiser for the church?
- Paul in his letter to Colossians provides several practical ways to be the church in action. Look at the Scripture and discuss what it means to be a Christian outside of Sunday worship.
- “We should clothe ourselves with love which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” What does “clothe ourselves with love” mean in today’s politically charged environment?
- Discuss the list of things we can do right now. Which one’s appeal to you or your group most?
From Study to Action: Using this study and Scripture as a guide, explore creative ways to be the church in action.