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 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 signaled what Christ was already doing among them. Not only are they serving others as our Lord commanded, but they’re also spending time fellowship 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 every Sunday to worship. Church is a living and breathing extension of Christ’s ministry. In Matthew 18:20, 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 Savior, building one another up through corporate worship, prayer and studying the Word of God. This can take place in our work or school situations or in any place where we encounter others in our community or neighborhood.
I’m so grateful for those of you within our GCI family who are already modeling 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!
By Joseph Tkach, President of Grace Communion International
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