Monday, June 6, 2016

Why Church Events?

Why church events?  Let's be candid. Church events are hard work!  They require time, effort, planning and expense.  They keep us from our normal routine and they break up "normality."

We have church events because, as Christians, we have a threefold mission according to Matthew 28.18 - 20:
  1. Make disciples
  2. Baptize those disciples
  3. Teach those disciples "all things commanded" by Jesus.
In order to "make" a disciple, we first must understand just what IS a disciple?  The word in the original Greek for "make disciples" is metheteusate, "to make learners," or to make "believing followers."  This, of course, presupposes something far more foundational...a preexisting acquaintance, a friendship of at LEAST a casual acquaintance, 

We now must ask the question; "How do we make friends?"  It's odd asking how to do something we USED to do all the time without even thinking of it or of it's definition!  We were all good at making lots of friends when we were young.  Now, not so much.  What's the difference between then and now?  The lives of young people are filled with what?  EVENTS.  You remember, club meetings, communal lunch 5 days a week with your friends, weekly sporting events, group study, holiday concerts...and...just "hanging out."  Back in the day, we all had more friends than we could count!  Now...?

What's changed?  A number of things.  Adulthood is far more of an isolated time than was school.  We work alone.  We have daily contact with fewer and fewer people as time advances.  Events become fewer and farther between.  Events that were once both common and spontaneous are now un-common and are likely contrived,  Another factor, far more difficult to cope with, is the fact that when existing friends either move away or die, we fail to replace them.  Though totally unnecessary, "old and alone" often go hand in hand,  What to do?  We can't do anything about the "old" part but the "alone" part can be dispatched completely!

Simply put, those of us who are older must "prime the friendship pump."  That requires meeting more people more often than we might be comfortable with.  Events make that process easier.  It's easier to invite a stranger, or an acquaintance to a planned event than it is to create an event specific to the same purpose.  Whatever the reasons are, people today are very reluctant to having people in their homes.  Events give us a reason to engage potential friends who can then become "believing followers."  The first step is the hardest...talking to strangers.  I think it was Will Rogers who said; "I don't know any strangers, only friends I've yet to meet."  

This is why we have events at the Archdale church of Christ in Charlotte, NC.  On June 5, 2016 we had a "Comedy Night" with Charlotte comedian, Dan Sinski/  It was a great success.  People who were strangers to us are now acquaintances.  People who had never heard the gospel, heard it.  We all became closer because we did something that fewer and fewer people are doing these days...we laughed out loud together.  "Laughter is the best medicine" we are often told.  Dr. Cyntia Thaik says this; "If you can find a reason to laugh every day, you'll find that your mood will improve, your relationships with others will seem more meaningful and effortless, and life's hurdles wont' seem so daunting.  Moreover, your body, mind and soul will reap the health benefits of the natural and free medicine." (1)  More importantly, we are all created "in the image of God."  Part of that creative genius is laughter!  God made people to laugh!

We have events so we can talk to strangers, make them acquaintances, make them friends, make them disciples, baptize them and then teach them "all things commanded."

Besides all that, who doesn't want more friends?

(1) HUFFPOST HEALTHY LIVING, "Why Laughing is Good for Your Health," March 16, 2016

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