The idea of not meeting for church on a particular Sunday was not something I thought was unheard of or crazy. Closing the doors of church on a Sunday happened at a previous church we attended. However, when I first heard that Gospel Life was not going to be gathering on Sunday September 13th, I had the same question that many of you might have…WHY? Why can't we engage with culture on another day of the week? Why does it have to be on a Sunday? If it's really not about the Seahawks opening game, then let's be about the community on other game days. After multiple conversations and lots of internal processing , I was able to see where my perceptions of Sunday may be a little more me focused rather than Jesus focused.
Some of you may share the same misbelief that being on mission primarily means reaching unbelievers in our workplaces Monday through Friday and maybe occasional Saturdays. I thought Sundays were for believers to get refreshed, renewed, and take a break from missional living. Sound crazy? Well, at times, this is the reality of what I believe and how I live. I know I am "supposed" to be on mission Monday-Friday (and some Saturdays) but, come on...Sundays are my day off to rest from having to live on mission and share my life with nonbelievers. Now, I am learning that mission is a lifestyle. The grace of God doesn't motivate us to make disciples on only certain days of the week or for special events. When we "go" make disciples of Jesus, it is a consistent way of life.
One of my biggest concerns with closing the doors next Sunday was the potential visitor who would come to GLC to hear the message of the gospel. I was worried that if we weren't there, they wouldn't come back and would be forever lost. Yes, I admit that sometimes I think we are a really big deal and that God needs us. However, I realized that not having a service on Sunday does not hinder God or mess up His plan; especially since He already knew before the world began that Gospel Life Church wouldn't be meeting next weekend! Who am I to think that God needs us and that our availability on Sunday is what saves people?
Another reason I struggled with the idea of the Sunday "scattering" is related to my dislike of the idolatry of sports in our culture. My life used to revolve around watching sports and playing sports…yet the idolatry surrounding the worship of athletes has always bothered me. Therefore, I am hesitant to join the "crowd" and engage in a cultural worship of the Seahawks. However, I now see an opportunity to look outside of myself, join those around me, and begin to build relationships with unbelievers who love the Seahawks. In loving them where they are at, I would hope to earn the right to share with them the truth about Jesus...that He is the only one worthy of our worship and that real joy, acceptance, and satisfaction can only be found in Him.
While listening to a friend share his perspective last week in our Gospel Community, I began to wonder: Am I thinking backwards? He shared that when we look outside of America, we see that missionaries already understand and live according to what we are trying to accomplish on September 13th. Missionaries understand that they must first adapt to the culture, get involved in the community, build relationships and then share the good news of the gospel. They go out to find unbelievers while we expect unbelievers to come to us. Just hearing and remembering that perspective has changed everything for me regarding the scattering.
God is so good and He is sovereign. We are not saviors by putting on a Sunday service. JESUS is our Savior and we are merely blessed to be used as tools to share the gospel within our culture and community...not just Monday-Saturday, but Sundays too. We are praying for the Holy Spirit to lead us and that on September 13th, relationships will be formed and strengthened. Our hope is that this will eventually open the doors for us to share the good news of God's amazing grace with those in our community!
-Joe Walling (Gospel Life Church Deacon)