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God's People at Work: Outside the Four Walls

From reading the Bible, we know Jesus didn’t always teach and speak in the Temple and places of worship. In fact, most of his ministry took place on the hillsides, shorelines, in homes and outside wherever people congregated. Matthew 5:1-2a “Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach…” (NIV) In contrast, most of today’s worship experiences typically occur indoors in the convenience and comfort of our churches. But it doesn’t need to – outside worship is acceptable as well. In fact, at certain times and situations, it is actually preferable. Jesus met willing listeners wherever they were – He didn’t schedule a place and time to tell everyone about God’s Love. So why should we? Matthew 8:1 “When He came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed Him.” (NIV) That was the thought of one of the Journey Groups (Monday evening session). The idea of an outdoor community service had been kicked around for some time. Finally, on October 9th, the service was held at South Middleton Park. Volunteers came together to run the sound equipment and provide a light lunch for the people of Barnitz, Mt. Zion and any of the community who came. Tammy Eads (MZ) explains, “The goal of this event was to reach members of the community who don’t regularly attend worship services as well as providing an alternate worship experience for the members of Barnitz and Mt. Zion churches. Perhaps in the future, this will evolve into a true community outdoor service which will include additional area churches. We see this ministry growing. Several people in attendance stated we should do this again – possibly even two times a year.” She adds, “We will need to find a way to reach more members of the community” for future services.” Even though the day was cold and blustery, the atmosphere among the worshippers was warm and inviting. Matthew 8:23 “Then He got into the boat and the disciples followed Him.” (NIV) Matthew 9:23a, 26 “… Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd… News of this spread throughout all the regions.” (NIV) Matthew 13:1-3a “That same day, Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around Him that He got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then He told them many things in parables…” (NIV) John 21:1-2 “On the third day, a wedding took place in Canaan in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there and Jesus and His disciples had also been invited to the wedding…” (NIV) Whether we meet those around us to tell them of the love of Jesus Christ in a boat, at a wedding, on a lakeshore, in a church, or in a park, the important thing is to spread Jesus’ love wherever we go. Worship is not just on Sunday morning in a building, it is us living our daily lives in the community helping those we meet and sharing all we know about Jesus. Mark 16:15-16a “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved…” (NIV)

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