Imagine Grace Baptist Church was like going to Pearson International Airport in Toronto.
When you go to the airport terminal:
- You expect clean washrooms and comfortable seats as you wait for your flight.
- You certainly hope it’s a safe and secure place.
- You hope there is something for your kids, like a video game room.
- You expect clear directions telling you where you need to go.
- You hope your baggage will be handled with courtesy.
When you arrive at church:
- You expect comfortable pews or seats and clean washrooms.
- You hope it is a safe place where you can be yourself without fear of judgment or condemnation.
- You expect something for your kids – a clean nursery or relevant program for your teens.
- You hope for clear, relevant direction from the teaching. Sermons and lessons must help point you to a better way.
- You certainly hope your personal emotional baggage will be handled with sensitivity and courtesy.
Yes, airport terminals and churches share a lot in common when it comes to one’s expectations. But there are other ways in which to see the connection between the airport and the church.
For example, we readily recognize that the airport terminal is just a stepping off point on our way to our real destination. It is just a means to an end; the place where we are resourced to get on with our trip. Too often Christians subtly treat going to church as the end, rather than the means to the end.
It is good to attend church in order to be encouraged, challenged, loved and equipped for our journey of faith. But it seems we are too quick to see church as simply a place of resource, and fail to see that the resourcing is intended to send us out, equipped for a mission – a spiritual adventure of faith.
We must refresh our understanding of why we come to church. It must be more than simply fulfilling our religious duty to attend weekly worship. We need reminding that, along with vitally important worship of our God, we also come to church for equipping and resourcing to move on in our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ.
Church is not the end, but rather the means to the end. I doubt that many of us would travel to the airport each Sunday just to hang out, to check out the washrooms and to enjoy the comfortable seating. No, we go to the airport to prepare to embark on a journey.
Let’s treat attending church in the same way. It is a vitally important means to an end – being equipped to pursue our mission of making disciples of all nations.