That day happened to be Gene’s 90th birthday – a fact I didn’t discover until later. Skylar is in her early teens.
Three-quarters of a century separates their ages. Gene has great-grandchildren older than Skylar.
On Monday through Saturday their lives could not look more different. But on Sunday mornings, that distance gets reduced to no wider than the space between their chairs.
Gene can’t always make it to church any more. And when he does, he can’t sit in in the folding chairs we set up in the main room. So, while Skylar and the rest of us go into the sanctuary to sit, stand, clap and raise our hands in worship and learn from scripture, Gene sits quietly in an armchair in the lobby and listens.
When the service is over, the second part of church begins for Gene. He can’t get up and walk around as people talk, laugh and hang out in the lobby, so he stays in his chair. But he’s seldom sitting alone. People like Skylar stop and chat with Gene.
They bring him coffee. And they enjoy his quiet friendliness and wisdom. They learn about his life. They listen as he shares his passion for oil painting. They pray for him and he prays for them.
A healthy church should always look something like this.
No matter how big or small the church is, these moments matter.
Pastors like me run around trying to keep up with all the work of the ministry, sometimes wondering how much of it really makes a difference. We worry about budgets, stress over attendance and learn about the latest methods for being relevant to a speedily-changing culture. And we argue online about every subject imaginable – and some that I never would have imagined we could argue over.
Meanwhile, people like Skylar and Gene ignore the noise, worship Jesus and share their lives.
In other words, they have church.
And Jesus is honored in that.
So what do you think? Do you have any stories from your church like Gene and Skylar?
We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
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