“Churchgoers will be the sermon”

I came across a report of a wonderful community event that involves Church of Christ people and Baptist people, working together to help their community in Abilene, Texas.

“On Sunday, 1,750 Abilene churchgoers will leave the brick and mortar of their familiar buildings behind. Dressed in work clothes, not their Sunday best, they will spread out across 110 work sites.

They will not listen to a sermon that day. Instead, they will be the sermon, doing good deeds for neighbors living in difficult situations.

The date marks the fourth consecutive year churches in Abilene will participate in We Are The Sermon Day.”

Go here to read the rest of this uplifting story about Christians from different church backgrounds, working together for the betterment of their community, all in the name of Jesus Christ.  What an inspirational way to share the Gospel!

Southern Hills Church of Christ website – the church that started the event in 2005.  I like especially the sentence on their “what we believe” page – “We are Christians only, but not the only Christians.”  Good stuff.  

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”  John 17:20-23

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15 thoughts on ““Churchgoers will be the sermon”

  1. Isn’t it great? I was in Abilene when this was going on-this to me is real Christianity-it is CHURCH. It is being His body to His people. It reminds me of the Casting Crowns song “If We Are The Body”…

    It’s crowded in worship today
    As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
    The girl’s teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
    Farther than they know

    But if we are the body
    Why aren’t His arms reaching?
    Why aren’t His hands healing?
    Why aren’t His words teaching?
    And if we are the body
    Why aren’t His feet going?
    Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
    There is a way

    A traveler is far away from home
    He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
    The weight of their judgmental glances
    Tells him that his chances are better out on the road

    Jesus payed much too high a price
    For us to pick and choose who should come
    And we are the body of Christ

    Jesus is the way

    …and it shows that not all Churches of Christ have this un-Christian like, “let’s prove everyone wrong” attitude, and are willing to focus on Christ and His plea for unity. We ARE Christians only-but more than that-we are united in the blood of Christ and it is time we lived like it. I hope that stories like this will spread like wildfire and inspire other Christians to reach across the aisle, out of the building, and go be hands and feet to others.

  2. Just curious who came up with the Idea that the “worship of God” is insignificant enough that we can cancel it and go work in the community?

  3. I find it laughable even in my own community that denominations will cancel service on Sunday when Christmas falls on Sunday.

    The sign out front reads Jesus is the reason for the season then they cancel worship so they can have “family time” sounds kinda fishy…

  4. JC, you have just proven to me to that you have missed the point of Christianity. Do you believe the will of God is to only worship for a few hours a week or to go serve His people, feed His sheep?

    Of course both are important, but how can you speak against one week where people actually go OUT and be Jesus TO PEOPLE instead of sitting in their church pews? I wish we had MUCH MORE of this. Isn’t that what Jesus has called us to?

  5. I understand what both JC and Katherine are saying.

    I think JC is basically saying, “there are seven days in the week. We are told to worship on Sunday. Why skip that time of worship when what they’re doing on Sunday could easily be done on a Saturday.”

    We can easily do the WORK of Christ and still do the WORSHIP to God.

    I know where you are coming from though, Katherine. Helping others and serving them is the same as serving God – that is part of the work He left for us. I just wouldn’t cancel worship services in order to do that work. Certainly there is enough time in a week to do both. Wouldn’t you agree?

  6. By the way,

    “Just curious who came up with the Idea that the “worship of God” is insignificant enough that we can cancel it and go work in the community?”

    I don’t believe anyone decided that “worship was insignificant”-that is why they called it “We Are the Sermon” day-instead of “hearing” a sermon-they were “being” the sermon. They were being Jesus.

    I agree that you can have both worship and service, but can you really fault them for what they did? More people need to be doing it. Church is not just about sitting in a pew-it is about BEING the church-the body of Christ-His hands and feet to the world.

  7. I think when you are doing God’s work you are also worshipping him. Some people have to work six days a week so they may have to do some of these good works on a Sunday. I fail to see how this wouldn’t be worshipping God however.

  8. I agree Gail,
    scripture says that true worshippers, worship in spirit and truth. And following the truth of God’s Word by serving others is most certainly worshipping in spirit and truth.

  9. Matthew 4:10: You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.

    Jesus used two different words for two different things. We are to “worship” God and we are to “serve” Him. They are similar but not the same.

    This is a great service that these people are doing, but it is not worship. Both are commanded and I just can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to do both.

    As far as people working 6 days a week…well, I guess those people couldn’t participate in this particular service if it was scheduled on a Saturday and Sunday was their only day off. Certainly those few individuals could find other avenues of service in their lives.

  10. True, each of us must figure out how best to serve given our individual situation. I guess what I like about this particular case is it is Christians, thinking “outside the box” (conservative ones at that). I thought this was a very good example of people ACTUALLY doing what Christ commanded us to do.

  11. I agree with you completely Gail that this is an excellent work. Nothing shows Christ to people better than helping them meet their physical needs. I think that is the best way to get an opportunity to address their spiritual needs.

    My point is just that while doing the work we shouldn’t neglect the worship.

    I hope this goes well for them and that through it they are able to bring many souls to God.

  12. Something we mustn’t forget – and part of the reason that I posted this in the first place, is that it is Churches of Christ and Baptist Churches working together. This wouldn’t happen with our three local TV hosts, because they don’t consider anyone else to be Christian if they have the slightest deviation from their doctrine.

    Bravo to this true churches of Christ effort!

  13. I understand and agree with each of the views posted. Nathan is most certainly correct that this example demonstrates how churches whether they call themselves Baptist or Church of Christ can work together in unity for the Kingdom of God.

    Here is a another thought to the idea of substituting something else in the place of worship: I believe that one of the reasons that our churches are not seeing a faithful attendance to worship among the majority of young Christians today is because we taught them through actions that Worship of God is not a priority or of a great importance. Parents skip Sunday church on a regular basis because going to the race, sporting events or recreational outings receive priority. Church attendance is one of those things that many are teaching their kids is good if there isn’t anything else to do. I believe that when you give God the worship that He deserves and commands then all of the other priorities of life will find their proper and rightful places.

  14. Rick – as to your second point about the way we teach our children through our actions, I say Amen! Many see assembling to worship God as optional. Many parents don’t show through actions how important that worship is. For instance, many people won’t bother to find a congregation to worship with when they’re on vacation. I guess they decide to take a vacation from God as well! When I was growing up (in the Baptist church) I was there every time the doors were open. My parents were not. When I got out on my own I followed their example and stopped going to church because I thought it wasn’t really that important. I can’t blame that on my parents, but they did set a poor example.

    In the follow-up article to this Nathan pointed out that they may have worshiped Sunday night instead of Sunday morning. That is probably true. At least I hope it is, and it does seem logical.

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