- On October 7, 2013
- 0 Comments
It is a beautiful day in CA. I am sitting outside the Mariners Church, Ocean Hills campus in San Juan Capistrano. I got here early yesterday and did some sight seeing, and as I did I had some thoughts about the capital C church, the church universal, that I would like to share with you.
For some reason I have always wanted to go to Venice Beach. It is featured in the movies and TV and I just thought it would be cool to take a look. First of all, it is exactly the way it looks in the movies. As I walked along the shops and the beach, I saw an amazing variety of people and personalities. From the guy on skates, playing guitar and trying to sell CD’s of his music, to the young lady on a bike who had on the most amazing hat, to the old man who loudly asked for donations for watching him do nothing, they are all here in all of there bizarre and interesting glory. It is an inescapable fact that anyone and everyone is welcome at Venice Beach. There are skaters, walkers, riders, lifters, exhibitionists, gawkers, children and adults (using that term loosely because of some behavioral observations). But no matter what, Venice Beach says come in, the water is fine.
I wonder why our churches cannot see that this is what the world, at least part of the world, looks like? What I did not see was a single, solitary, church represented. Nor did I see anyone else speaking or teaching the Gospel. I guess since it is October all of the summer youth mission teams are gone and there is no one else interested in reaching the lost on Venice Beach on a Sunday afternoon. But more than that there are store fronts selling every piece of junk you can imagine. I also counted 7 medical marijuana store fronts. Not one church.
Can you imagine the impact if a church rented a store front and opened a worship space on the Venice Beach boardwalk? I thought about the impact that could have on the beach. Where do we think Jesus has called us to teach? Where do we think he would be?
If you can’t be there, then what if these people showed up at your church looking for God? Why don’t our churches look more like the world instead of just the part that looks like us? I attended a mass in San Juan Capistrano, which will be the topic of the third blog in this series, and there were people of all walks of life and stations of society in that mass. I was so impressed by the variety of people that particular churches reaches for Jesus. How well does you church worship in a way that welcomes all into the presence of God?
I know this blog is supposed to be about practical suggestions for church worship. So, let me make the following suggestions:
1. Look around your community. Where could you take the worship of your church “on the road” and reach people?
2. How welcoming is your church to people who do not look like you? What can you as the worship leader, or as a congregation member, do to make a difference?
These are just two examples, but more than that I wonder if you are willing to ask God to open your eyes to see the world the way Jesus saw the world?
Next up: Surfing Dana Point