Devotion: When does church start?

Matthew 9:10 “As Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.”

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Recently, I put my foot in my mouth with a pastor I respect, seek to learn from, and am being coached. I quickly and flippantly said, “I pray that Waypoint never becomes one of those countdown churches.” [Awkward long pause] “Y’all use a countdown clock don’t you?” 

 While I understand the pragmatic need for a countdown in a larger church where it is difficult to transition people from getting to the church campus to being present as the church body, I find I spend most of my life watching the seconds tick away as I prepare for the next thing. 

 In preparation for Sunday’s message, I was struck by how much time Jesus spent around a table with people—it seems he prioritized community. While he did seek times of seculison, it was so that he’d have the energy and perspective to reengage people. 

Recently, I read a great book (which the above Coach suggested I read) called Tangible Kingdom, when I found a more profound and better articulated explanation of my disdain for countdown clocks at church.

As people find our gathering, I often see them go find a seat to wait for the service to begin, while our normal community is eating, drinking, and relating to each other.

His point was that church had started already. 

 This is what I love about the chaos of Waypoint. We now have a “problem” where people are arriving early and staying late actually talking to each other. In fact Brad often has had to play louder to try and grab people’s attention only to discover people started talking louder. 

 Our core value is Genuine Community, where we get to know people and get to know God. Where the facade of having it all together comes into contact with a God who breaks down barriers. 

 That is the church in action; not quietly sitting in a pew waiting for the show to start. 

 The expression of worship does not begin with the first cord or the call to worship, it begins when our feet hit the floor in preparation for gathering up with God’s people. 

 If we arrive at the church campus just like we do a Panthers game, a Taylor Swift concert, a movie, or any other event then we are muting the power of God to work, speak and move through the other people in our lives. 

 So the next time you show up for worship, don’t be the first in your seat but the last–for the last will be first and the first shall be last.

 (Um, yeah, sorry about this Brad…thinking you are gonna need to play really loud this coming Sunday!)

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