Monday, August 29, 2011

A challenge (I need your help)

Lately there have been some challenges put out into the interwebs. Like this one by Jules. To me this is a great challenge, and a great way to confront some of our issues.

But I would like to issue a challenge of my own:

To every Church in the Western Christian world, take one Sunday a year (or twice a year, a month, heck every Sunday), and do not have a service. Take all of the money that would come in, and tell people to spread it around your city. Organize trash pick ups, car repair, free car washes, having lunch or breakfast with the homeless. Take one Sunday, and have a big party where you invite everyone that doesn't get invited to parties, in your homes, in the parks, on your block. On that Sunday visit prisons, and hospitals and old folks homes. Instead of singing songs for worship, sacrifice your time and money to care for those not cared for, the orphans, widows, or the mentally ill. Instead of listening to the word of God, go be the word of God realized, standing up for the marginalized, planting food gardens in public places, or doing a rally for better treatment of low income employees.

What would happen if Saddleback in Orange County, and the Eucatastrophe in Fort Worth, if Mars Hill Church in Seattle and the Revolution in New York, if Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa and Awakening Chapel in Long Beach, if St. Patricks Cathedral and Adullam in Colorado, all just changed it up once and a while and sent the real church out, instead of trying to call everyone in? What would happen if we unleashed the talent, the artists, the musicians that we bind up in our programatic Sunday mornings, into a world that thrives on the creative? Can you imagine people with the talent of Willow Creeks band, taking requests from a park full of homeless people, to just sing and play. Can you imagine a homeless guy coming up and singing an old song from his past with them?

I can imagine it. I can imagine experiencing Jesus in a Matthew 25 way.

I challenge Mark Driscoll, Chuck Smith, Greg Laurie, John MacArthur, Greg Boyd, Hugh Halter, Phil Shepherd, Jay Baker, Doug Pagitt and countless others to reorder their budgets, to make some plans, to set their hype machines in motion, and do a Matthew 25 worship day, at least once a year.

Now for those of you that may have already done this, awesome, please don't let my ignorance, or arrogance offend you. I am just imagining this wonderful worship, and its effect on a world I am growing to love.

Please share this if you think its a good idea, or even if you think I am an idiot

rev

20 comments:

Kimberley Debus said...

Wow. I love this. I've sent it to a number of congregational ministers I know. isn't this what we mean by 'putting our faith into action'? Again, I say 'wow'. I will, of course, be interested to see if the big boys take you up on it.

Michelle said...

Hello John Jensen, it's just me Michelle Hendrickson, I will be reposting this on my blog, I think it's an outstanding idea! Blessings...

JWR said...

A great challenge that we all should consider! And, no, you are not an idiot.

Pastor Nar said...

Hey John ... I enjoy how you crafted your challenge. I see it as the Spirit speaking to the churches.

It resonates (yeah, I learned that word from our Emergent family) with me because I issued the same challenge quite a few years back. Not to the churches you called out, more on a local level.

If I combined the answers I got back (most didn't even respond) it would be something like ...

"That would be a noble gesture, but unfortunately it is impossible for us to do so. What would the neighbors think if they saw our church shut down on a Sunday? Our regulars would be confused if they showed up and no one was here. Visitors probably wouldn't come back. We depend on the tithes and offerings every Sunday just to keep afloat. What would we do with our older folks and young children - surely they would have to be left out? Our people NEED the Sunday meeting!"

Thanks for the challenge, John. Perhaps the Spirit is not only speaking to the churches today - but has also given the churches ears to hear.

Mark Currey said...

we are doing it once a month starting in sept. just decided about a week ago. really excited.

john jensen said...

Awesome brother tell us how it goes. Hope people put as much into it as the service or even more.

Rev

Anonymous said...

I recently suggested that our church do something similar to this and was basically told that the "congregation is not ready yet" and that the way to get them ready was with "more teaching". I still believe there is hope, but I wanted those who are reading this to be prepared for such a response, and not to lose hope.

john jensen said...

So why don't we set a date and strategically teach towards that date? Prepare events for that date? Prepare reflection times after that date? Mobilize small group leaders to organize towards that date? Ect I will probably talk more about this tomorrow as this is really important to me

Rev

gord said...

i like your idea. i don't really even go to church much anymore (nothing to do with my faith as I feel it is as strong as it ever has been, praise God.), but because I just don't get much out of sitting in a chair and listening to music for 45+ mins (as it seems every church feels the need to do). As I am not part of a Christian community I will see what I can start where I live. Thank you for this post. It has motivated me to think outside the box when it comes to my Christian walk.

Mark Currey said...

we are going to a local warehouse that houses a homeless outreach. we'll share communion, sing together, and then spend a couple of hours sorting donations, clothes, food, etc. Can't wait.

Rick Warren said...

Good word John.

Actually Saddleback has already done this a number of times over the years and we're planning to do it AGAIN in in December.

God bless you. Rick Warren

Anonymous said...

My church in Dallas does this. We meet at church, all pile up on 50+ buses and go all around Dallas cleaning schools, painting children's homes, do landscaping, tear down crack houses. It is always an amazing time.

john jensen said...

Would you do a guest post in the next few days about your experience?

Rev

David said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Phil Shepherd said...

john -

good post. i can only speak for The Eucatastrophe since i am one of the pastors there and for Solomon's Porch because i was apart of that community for little over two years, but both of these communities already are engaged in these types of activities.

i think we (and i include myself in the we) have to be careful in assuming that because one faith community looks different than our own, that they are somehow not engaged in loving the marginalized.

we have had this discussion before, but i think that the social gospel is incomplete however, i do believe strongly in social justice.

there are many types of marginalization that happens everyday in the world and if we choose to ignore those whom are being marginalized especially in our own context then i believe we have missed the point of the kingdom of god being at hand.

i know that my comments are brief and somewhat general but, i have to go for now because i have a huge budget that the eucatastrophe gives me to spend on my capitalist pig needs. (insert sarcasm here) just joking btw. love you john ;)

john jensen said...

I am not assuming anything, I am sure all faith communities love the marginalized in some way. I am challenging the status quo of Sunday Morning Worship. I am stoked to hear that there are churches out there, even large ones that are doing these things already, I want to encourage that.

As to your other comments...

Well, if Jesus prioritized the poor and marginalized, I will too. Simple as that.

its all love brother

rev

Anonymous said...

I am a Pagan, but was raised Christian. My family, including my husband, are mostly Christian. I found this so interesting! We went to several churches growing up and the majority did not do social outreach in thus manner. It was all in an attempt to bring people to the church. My husband is a member of a church that does this sort of thing. But they don't just do it on a Sunday. Instead they do it every day. They run a mental health center, where the people who need help and either don't have insurance or have the 50% copay can go and receive help from professionals who volunteer their time. They run several support groups. They run a health clinic. And this is not counting all the things they do overseas. They open their doors to everyone. I can feel comfortable walking in the meetings even when people know I'm not Christian. They don't have a fancy church, they rent space in another church and hold services in another place on Sunday. They use the money they could be using for a nice, new church on their service projects. And in their outreaches they don't require people to sit through a service to get help. In fact they actually will tell people that even though it is from the church there is no requirement to attend services. And the most interesting part? Even though they don't really advertise their church or do things to draw people to services, they have probably the biggest congregation I have ever seen. The building is packed every Sunday. On holiday there is standing only room! They realize that by doing real social outreach like you have proposed they are doing the best "advertising" they can do. They are advertising not only their church, but advertising their God's love and modeling theirselves after Jesus.

john jensen said...

Sounds amazing my thought was more about redefining worship and congregational participation than just doing outreach

Cindi Knox said...

Hope Community United Church of Christ does this on fifth Sundays: http://www.sharehope.org/#/what-we-do/jesus-has-left

john jensen said...

Cindi that is beautiful, thanks for sharing, wonderful that this is something that has already been happening. I may be late to the party, but I think it is something we must all wrestle with. We have been doing every Sunday, for years now.

rev