Last week was our church’s annual SERVE Gala. The staff went all out to let our church volunteers know they’re loved and appreciated, and each of our church’s five campuses singled out a Volunteer of the Year. It was fun, heartfelt, an excellent way to say thank you for all the time and effort members of our congregations invest in our church.
Pete and I were there because we, too, are church volunteers, helping out in a variety of ways. I believe that every churchgoer should serve their church body, according to their gifts and abilities. (Check out Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12.)
But there was something missing, something I rarely see mentioned when it comes time to talk about serving: while helping out at church is important, not all serving should happen in the church.
In the wake of the recent spate of mass shootings, gun control is again being debated. I had just finished reading some opinion pieces (now called “news”) both for and against more restrictive laws, when I came across this article in Newsweek:
Wondering how a chicken lunch could be considered offensive and racist, I clicked on the article. I learned that eating chicken for lunch is considered a black stereotype, so a social program targeting chicken lunches is offending some people. (Really? Fried chicken is racist? I thought it was just delicious!)
I saw this the other day while out and about. Maybe they can start a new trend in home painting?
If you could have anything you want, what would it be? A new car? A bigger house? A billion dollars, so you could have both of those, and more? Or would you prefer perfect health, a fitter body, or the ability to eat all you want yet never become overweight? Maybe you’re yearning for a spouse, or a child, or you dream of spending more time with a loved one who has passed away.
Now think about heaven. Yes, perhaps we’ll have material items (we don’t really know). We will certainly have perfect health in our new bodies (2 Corinthians 5:1-4). We look forward to being reunited with people we love. But most of all, heaven means that we’ll be with Jesus.
How does that old song go? “Summertime, and the living is easy…” Well, not this summer! Somehow, the calendar is suddenly full. Pete is working full time, and trying to sort out his medical bills and insurance payments from his heart “event” earlier this year. My schedule is packed as well. We desperately need time—with one another, and with God together.
You have likely heard of Unreached People Groups (UPGs)—ethnic groups of peoples where the number of self-professing Christians is under 5% of the population.
Unengaged UPGs (UUPGs) are those groups the church has not yet attempted to reach. They still lack any kind of witness among them, and there is not even a plan to create one. There is no way they could hear about Jesus unless someone crosses a cultural barrier to bring them the good news.
Now there’s a new term circulating among missiologists: Frontier People Groups (FPGs). While the definition is still in flux, the label was added to make a distinction between UPGs where God has begun a work, and those groups yet to experience their first church.