I love my church. It is a good church. My family have been blessed by being a part of it. But last night I had a dream. Actually I had the same dream several times over. The dream was very simple – it featured a small sparrow that flew backwards and forwards constantly to feed a much larger, fatter bird. The large bird was very tame. It did not move much; perhaps because everything it needed was brought to it and placed into its mouth.
Before church happened today, many small birds flew backwards and forwards. Some cleaned, while others put chairs out and got the building ready. Another wrote and printed out the newssheets and sermon notes, another updated the website. Communion was prepared ready for the service. The pastor did many things, as well as preparing the sermon. Someone made sure that the church would be heated, someone else made sure that the toilets were clean and stocked with toilet paper and towels.
At midnight a small group of people opened the foyer area to serve hot drinks to passing clubbers and vagrants. They welcomed people into the foyer to sit for a while. They chatted to the drunk and the lonely; and they cleaned the forecourt area of all kinds of mess from the clubbers including food detritus and vomit, before finally getting to their beds at 04:00ish.
Next the musicians arrived, along with the sound desk operators, and the duty deacon. While the musicians began to practice, the welcome team started to prepare the lobby setting out a table to serve hot and cold drinks to people when they eventually arrived for the service.
By 10:30 the building was looking pretty full. Most of the Sunday school teachers managed to make a last minute entry to the sanctuary having set up the rooms for their classes. Part of their busy weeks had been spent in preparation for those classes. The pastor stood to lead the church in worship. Stuff was still going on behind the scenes. After church drinks were being set up in the kitchen, the lobby was being cleared away, the crèche was manned, the car-park and building were checked, and the duty deacon spent the service in the lobby dealing with the many and varied things that occur during a typical Sunday morning service in our city centre church.
After the service some folk served drinks. Others cleared away from their Sunday School classes, while chairs were removed from the main sanctuary and stacked to allow the events of the next week to take place. Many ‘sparrows’ will fly about during the week to make church happen. Much of what they do will be unseen. The question, however, is not about whether we are sparrows or large birds waiting to be waited on. The question concerns what Jesus said to His disciples. Jesus did not say, “Go and make a disciple.” Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” The word was plural. The thing we have to remember is that it is less about being a sparrow or a fat bird, and more about the condition of our individual hearts. It starts with us, folk. It starts with us.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)