If Your Church Disappeared, Would Anyone Notice?



“If your church was suddenly gone from your city—would anybody notice? Would anybody care?”

This question was posed to my husband and I at a conference and it confronted us deeply. We had been pastors in our city for a many years. We were sure our church family would miss us greatly, but we couldn’t confidently say that that those in the city around us would feel any significant impact if we were suddenly gone.

We both knew that needed to change, so we booked an appointment with the mayor of our city. When we arrived, she asked us what she could do for us. We let her know we weren’t there to ask for anything, but to ask her what we, and hundreds of people in our church family, could do to serve the needs of our city. She was rather dumbfounded and told us, “Nobody has ever asked me that question before!” She proceeded to tell us of some needs in our city that weighed heavily on her heart.

And so a journey of transformation began.

It started in small ways and has continued to gain strong momentum through the years. This heartfelt endeavor has brought help and hope to our city, but it has also truly transformed the heart of our church family and it has grown way beyond our wildest dreams. I know that we can now can say with confidence, that should our church suddenly be gone tomorrow, it would be greatly missed.

We are all so keenly aware that all is not well with this world—it is broken and hurting. There is suffering and pain almost anywhere we look but it takes intention and determination to actually take notice of the needs that are so readily apparent. Like the Good Samaritan, we must be willing to walk toward the cry of hurting humanity. As we yield our hearts to resonate with the heart of Father God, we’ll be surprised by what comes into view. I often ask God, “Is there something You would like me to do about that?”

The words of Edward Everett Hale speak loudly to my heart, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” Amen to that Mr. Hale!

When I put my hand up to say yes to a God-invitation, I am usually putting up my hand for many others as well. It always takes the first person to just give-it-a-go and soon many others will join in too. I have joined others and others have joined me—that is exactly what Kingdom endeavor looks like. Together we are amazing!

You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you?

I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” —Matthew 5:14-16, The Message

I pray this year finds us all asking the question, “God is there something You would like me to do about that?”

And on another note … have you chosen your ONE WORD for 2016 yet?

I have been doing this for the past five years and I have discovered that intentionally focusing on just one single word instead of a list of New Years resolutions brings vision and strength to my life. I highly recommend this meaningful exercise.

My one word for 2016 is “THRIVE!”

Thrive means to grow or develop vigorously; flourish: to blossom, increase, be healthy, succeed, prosper.

I feel excited just writing this word as I celebrated a landmark year as I turned 60! I feel like my very best days are in front of me and I truly sense this year will be a year to thrive. I hear Psalm 1:1-3 singing in my heart.

God’s blessings follow you and await you at every turn:
 when you don’t follow the advice of those who delight in wicked schemes, when you avoid sin’s highway,
 when judgment and sarcasm beckon you, but you refuse. For you, the Eternal’s Word is your happiness.
  It is your focus—from dusk to dawn. You are like a tree,
 planted by flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry.
 Your fruit ripens in its time;
 your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun.
 No matter what you do, you prosper.” (The Voice)

I’d really love to hear from you … would you gorgeous SheLovelys consider sharing your One Word with us today?