The joy of Christians just being together

The joy of Christians just being together

I had the privilege of being part of the camp for my church last weekend. As we do every year, the vast majority of the regulars at my church spent a weekend on the fringes of our city. There were three talks on Ephesians, some group discussions, quite a few meals, and a lot of free time. It is the time of year when we get the most time together in one place.

You know what it is like on a usual Sunday. There is a lot to do. Many arrive just before the service starts, and even on a good Sunday we might get an hour or so to talk after the service is done. This limited time makes it hard to get to know newer people and have serious conversations. Many of the conversations tend to be kind of shallow; friendly, polite, welcoming, but without the time to explore anything deeper.

Camp is kind of like church, but with more of everything. More talks, more conversations, more food. And as a pastor, watching the congregation serve one another is one of the greatest joys. Wherever you look, someone is doing something for the good of everyone. There are those helping in different ways in a formal sense, whether that is playing music or preparing food or washing dishes (or, in this COVID-19 environment, sanitising and disinfecting every chair and table that is used). But there are also the acts of service that spring up naturally. The teenager who plays with the toddlers on the playground. The person welcoming and playing board games with the new arrival. When you gather a congregation of Christians together, service happens. And that is a wonderful thing.

I admit that sometimes I can feel like I have a lot of ministry to do, and I do. But at camp, I can see that so many are involved in ministering to others in different ways. A congregation is not defined by its pastor but by its people.

In terms of my personal ministry, I had the opportunity to talk with people. And I had a great number of good and useful conversations. When you have an afternoon in front of you, you don’t need to stop with how your week was. You can go a little deeper.

Sitting back and watching a Christian community practically show love to each other while learning about Jesus and his goodness is a sign of things to come. One day, we will love being part of the community of all believer of all times and places in heaven. For now, time spent with our local church family gives us a foretaste of what is coming.