This past Sunday, television and social media were all abuzz with news of award winners, best and worst dressed, and John Travolta’s inability to pronounce people’s names. And I was in a small coffee shop with my friends, putting on a show. In the middle of our busy lives, we came together, rehearsed, got all sweaty setting up, to bring music to a street corner in Montebello. And what did we have to show for it? Besides the packed out venue, full of people listening to the very end? We raised over $350 for clean water projects in Africa. That’s 7 people who have clean water for life. And that’s truly awesome.
But that’s not even what I’m most excited about. No, even more than the numbers of people or of money, I was completely thrilled to see the Church–Christ’s body in action–happening in that place. We did it for the people of Africa, we did it in God’s love, and we did it as a community and outside the walls of the church campus. As my friend, Pastor Albert Hung, put it so eloquently, (and I’m paraphrasing here), “There are two places that are great for people coming together: coffee houses and churches.” Both of those came together last Sunday night, and I couldn’t imagine a more fitting combination: a coffee house and a church. A coffee house as a church. What is a church? Altogether now: “The church is not the building. It’s the people.”
I love it when church goes to the streets. I get excited when I hear stories of bars turning into worship gatherings, even if just for one morning a week. I am inspired by the creativity of people who make church not look like the same old church. If it helps bring people closer to Jesus, then I say the sky is the limit.
Church is a spiritual conversation between friends over drinks. Church is caring for a struggling family. Church is Matthew McConaughey thanking God after winning his Best Actor award. (Stay with me. I’m not claiming him for Evangelical Christianity, but you could hear a pin drop when the Entity was introduced.) And church is hundreds of people running a marathon because we care about folks in Africa we may very well never meet. Church is Christ’s body in action.
Where do you see church happening?