I will be the first to admit that the Church needs a lot of work. The Bride has not always been faithful to Christ, or His words. Still, the Church is a work in progress, and she is a Bride that loves Christ.
Too often, myself included, we get down on what the Church is failing to do, instead of recognizing what the Church is actually doing right. I believe it’s important to balance both views. As a body working together, we should be pointing out the areas we need to work on, and uplifting the areas we’re getting right.
Remember, the Church is the movement that turned the world upside down with the Spirit’s power. The Church is a body that will not be destroyed, nor will it be dismissed by Christ. The truth is, Christ loves His Bride. He died for His Bride. And He will continue to refine His Bride and empower her to do the work He has called her to do.
[The church] opened its doors as a shelter to the community in the hours after the storm.
“This is our city, this is what we’re here for,” says Shane Munn, a pastor at the church, noting that the church has not set any timelines as to when it will stop acting as a shelter. “We’ll provide for as long as we can.”
In the church’s parking lot a long line of pickups snakes between rows of cars. Dozens of volunteers load the pickups with ice, water and emergency supplies from relief organization Convoy of Hope. Springfield-based Bass Pro Shops donated camping stoves, sleeping bags, batteries, flashlights and more. T-Mobile donated free call stations, which will enable survivors to contact friends and family members. The St. Louis and Springfield Cardinals have also pledged $25,000 for the relief effort.
A church opened it’s doors to become a [physical] shelter to those in need! This is what the Body does, for all who need it, and whenever people need such a place of shelter for whatever reason. FYI: if you click on the churches website, a splash page shows up giving you a chance to help relief efforts in Joplin. A message also states that the church is now open as a relief shelter for those that need it. How awesome!
Imagine if more Churches became shelters – physically and spiritually?
Another church in Joplin, Faith Assembly of God, did this:
A few miles down the road from Gina’s home is Faith Assembly of God Church, which sits on the very edge of the tornado’s swath. Though the church was nearly destroyed, dozens of volunteers from the church unload pallets of supplies or counsel and pray with survivors or grill burgers and hot dogs for survivors and those who have descended on Joplin to help.
“If this church was 50 yards farther down the road there would’ve been 50 more people killed,” says a building contractor.
The 50 people the contractor speaks of were mostly members of the youth group who had gathered at the church to prep for a pie auction and youth service last Sunday night. As the tornado hit, the teens and their leaders gathered in an interior hallway.
At a time when the church has little to offer, they give all that they have left (and then some). Notice that it doesn’t take much money or resources to provide for the needs of people. Mostly it takes time, and in spending time you give out God’s compassion and grace – which is worth more than gold and silver.
What two great stories of the Church being the physical presence of Christ. How, then, can we learn from these examples?