Today, we had a church garden work day and thanks to a number of volunteers, we were able to get the garden fence posts set in concrete and the plot of ground raked and ready for the beds to be built.
One of the great things about doing church stuff is the ability to utilize everyones talents, skills and equipment. More hands and tools make for easier and faster work! Here is Dave (aka: Sir Mix-a-lot) making the whole cement mixing job a lot easier for the guys.
Working together creates lots of opportunity to talk, share, get to know each other and see projects go from desire, to dream, to vision, to work and then into reality. Together we discover that with God all things are possible. Working together is a witness to our culture that is fractured along so many relational lines...race, gender, age, economics, education, political and religious etc...seeing people accomplish good works together is a testimony of God among us. I saw this today, when a neighbor asked me how the community garden was coming along. As far as I know nobody in our church has relationship with this woman...but she knew about the garden. I am becoming more and more aware of how a church can become a witnessing community, simply by being a working community and that leads...to the worshipping community growing.
Seeing multiple generations working side by side; shows that church isn't built on faddish style or just being relevant. Growing genuine community is rooted in learning to work, worship and witness together. When I hear of people who have "ministries to people" but have not figured out how to share life with people among a church body...I get concerned. Ministry should be carved out of a communal witness. Gifts are seen, heard and discovered among a shared life. Ministries are like babies that are born out of a loving relationship....the relationship comes first...the children come from that.
This is a healthy context that safe guards us from individualism, ego building and short sighted actions that dont have the circumspection of multiple perspectives. A family matrix is a God designed support and scaffolding to build lives and ministries. It's harder to live together than alone, that is for sure. Community is the anvil that God uses to fashion and form His image in us. He uses the hammer of relationships to pound this out...plenty of sparks and bruises take place in this process but over time...a smooth and sharp edge emerges, and a exquisite creation is produced.
Jesus is glorified in simple people, doing simple things, with a lot of love.