Rite of passage: I know a church
Above: A church donated free photos of Santa during last year’s pandemic. Photo by Katherine Tresner.
I know a church.
I know of a church that is small in membership, with very little in its coffers, but what this church does well is to reflect Jesus in its community. It is an eclectic group that consists of people ranging from homeless people to businessmen and educators, some single and others who have been married multiple times. But this church is growing, and the common thread is that the members have all had an encounter with the living, loving, and risen Jesus Christ.
I know of a church that takes care of the homeless. This church allows them to use the church address as a permanent address so that they can obtain government grants and identification documents. One by one, they go to the church office, where they get help filling out an income tax form. Because they filed their income taxes, they are now eligible for government grants. It helps them move from life under a bridge to a small apartment, find a job, and begin the journey to self-reliance. I was talking to one of the homeless the other day when the pastor shouted, “When you see Red, tell him he’s got mail!” “
I know of a church that caters to each other’s needs. One of the previously homeless women had her young granddaughter living with her. She feared that if she died, her granddaughter would become a ward of the state. A couple in this church had tried to have children but to no avail. The parish priest reunited these two families, and recently the young couple were given legal guardianship of the little girl who is considering adopting. The little girl now has a house and the grandmother has another family.
I know of a church whose members put their gifts and talents at the service of the community. During the worst days of the pandemic, parents could not take their children out to take their annual ‘sitting on Santa’s lap’ photo. One of the members is a photographer and has offered his services free of charge. The church hired a Mr. and Mrs. Claus, set up a backdrop, and gave parents free photos for their families. The community came, touched by the kindness of the church.
I know of a church that has been involved in distributing food from the farm to the family. As the queue was a mile long with cars full of people waiting to receive food, church members walked into each car to tell them they also had clothes and food. meat to supplement the food distributed. A group called Hunters for Hunger heard about this church and donated 1,000 pounds of minced venison. One by one, the families came to have their needs met. The church not only distributed food and clothing, but also basic necessities such as shampoo, toothbrushes, backpacks, towels, washcloths and other basic necessities.
I know of a church whose building is in poor condition. But because they are doing the ministry of Jesus, God blesses them through other people who care for them. The church received a grant to install brand new double-glazed windows throughout its building. A group from Springfield, Missouri, came twice and repainted the kitchen cabinets, repaired the baptistery, and repainted the classrooms. During the pandemic, the church went from no Sunday school class to 10.
I know of a church that recently baptized 14 new members, ordained elders, and ordained a man to the ministry of the gospel.
I know of a church that had only eight older adult members and no pastor. They had been faithful and wanted to continue doing the ministry of Jesus. They started talking to a church planter and decided to partner with him. They handed over their building and bank account, pledging to be loyal supporters and prayer partners in a new work.
I want to say something to the eight seniors of Catoosa, First. I know you lasted as long as you could, eight of you in a shrine that can accommodate 300 people. You could have kept holding on until the last one of you went to be with Jesus. But you had the courage, the courage and the vision to step out of your comfort zone, to open your heart, your wallets and your building to allow people from all walks of life to come and find new life in Jesus. Because of you, rumors are circulating in your community that the church is there to meet needs, to encourage the desperate, care for the sick, and meet the needs of the family.
As Jesus said to the church in Smyrna: “I know your afflictions and your poverty, and yet you are rich! (Rev. 2: 9).
I know a church that Jesus is proud of …
I know a church.