I’m going to pretend it hasn’t been several months since this blog was updated and just change the dates on the posts so that it looks like I actually keep up with things. If you could play along, I’d really appreciate it. Kthanks.
May was a good month for our little church family. Our pastors preached a short sermon series on Mission. These sermons were all from the book of Matthew, which we’ve been working through since December, and it was interesting to see how themes arise as you steadily work through a book of the Bible verse by verse, chapter by chapter. These sermons were some of the most powerful for me because Mission is something that I really stink at. It’s true. I stink at mission, which is tragic since one of my identities as a believer in Jesus is a missionary (you know, the Great Commission and all that?) As I listened to my pastors preach on Mission, I was convicted, challenged, inspired and equipped to be on mission in the arenas where God has placed me.
The best thing about this sermon series was that it ended with a church-wide challenge: All of the community groups were challenged to throw a block party in their neighborhoods on Memorial Day. **Just as a bit of back story, a block party is something Tim and I have been “meaning to do” since we moved to Pearland. What’s that you say, you mean you have lived in Pearland two years and never thrown a block party? Yes, sadly, that is exactly what I am saying. Worst. Church Planters. EVER.**
This challenge from our pastors was exactly what we needed to get us moving. We made invitations and went door-to-door handing them out. Going door-to-door was an adventure in and of itself. We learned quickly that we needed to say three things as fast as we could: We are neighbors. We live down the street. We are having a party and we want y’all to come. Until people heard those three things, we got these suspicious what-are-you-selling-or-what-religion-are-you-peddling looks as soon as the door opened. At the same time, it was so fun to see the suspicion melt and the smiles appear once we told people what we were doing. We got a lot of really positive responses. It made us excited for party day.
Party day dawned with perfect weather, and we got to work. We moved all our chairs and tables out to the front yard so that people could just see what was happening from down the street and join in if they wanted. We set up our backyard as kid-central with kiddie pools, slip-n-slide and sprinkler. Some friends from community group showed up with food and to help us get cooking, and the party began… sort of… I mean, no one came… for awhile. We had put on the invitations that the start time was 2pm. So, it’s 2… then 2:15… then 2:30… Then all at once, a family comes strolling down the street, then another, then another. We ended up having a great time visiting and getting to know about 5 different families from our street, people stayed for quite awhile, and it was really fun. I was incredibly thankful for Mark and Charon from our community group who were on food-and-drink duty so that Tim and I could just visit and talk with our neighbors. I was also thankful for the other families from our church who came to mingle and socialize (and help us clean up when it was over!)
Overall, it was a great success and has opened doors for further meals and interactions with our neighbors. What I am most thankful for, though, in the experience was when it was all over and I realized how foolish we had been to put it off for so long. It had seemed like such a massive undertaking and huge time-commitment, and I had used that as an excuse. In reality, it took an evening for passing out invitations, a little-bit-longer weekly trip to the grocery store and an afternoon of opening our home. Quite simple, really. We are so thankful for the challenge to do it and the fruit we have seen from it. If there is one thing church planting has done for me, it has pushed me out of my comfort zone time and time again, only to be given all the tools I needed to survive exactly when I needed them. There’s a word for that. Grace. Thanks be to God.