In the early chapters of the New Testament book of Acts, the church (embryonic at this point, a group of about 120 people) is basically in hiding. Jesus has been crucified, buried, risen, and ascended; they are “on their own” and did not really know what their future held. BUT, they were praying! It wasn’t long until we see “the church” released into the world. Pentecost, Holy Spirit empowerment, and preaching in the streets saw a large ingathering of new believers and the church as we know it becomes what Jesus had said it would: “…built upon the rock with nothing that can prevail against it.” However, many have tried to see her fail, either through outright persecution or just ignoring the church. Is the Church “alive and well” or is she just “busy”? There is a difference and you can be part of that difference.
As I thought about two scheduled activities we are involved in this next weekend, I saw a comparison worth noting that gives us opportunity to both learn and minister. On Saturday, May 20, two events take place that give us an opportunity to see what the church in hiding has to endure and deal with. The Secret Church meeting at the Crisler home, primarily geared to young adults/students, will take a look at the persecuted church worldwide. This will be a great time of study and fellowship. Secondly, the Laundry of Love provides us the opportunity to be the church on the street, out of hiding and in ministry. This is a Missions Committee sponsored outreach to our community at the ECO-mat, the laundromat at Broadway and Rural, where we will “pay” for the people to do their laundry, pass out water, provide detergent, and share about CPTC, our upcoming VBS, and Harvest Crusade. Volunteers are still needed! Call the Church Office.
While we suffer with and pray for those around our world who do not enjoy the freedom to “be the church” as we do, we should also claim opportunities to engage our world, even at the laundromat, with a boldness others cannot employ out of fear of persecution for doing so. Yes, laundry may of itself be a form of persecution, but join us in praying for the persecuted church around the world and engage with us to “be the church” He intended in our community.
Let’s commit to not “do church in secret”!