Once when we lived in Snyder I was driving home from a weekend getaway. Somewhere outside Ballinger I was struck by a revelation. There on the side of the road, in the middle of West Texas … was a submarine.
You read that right. A submarine.
Not like a giant naval submarine but one of those little orange exploration submarines. Thousands of miles from an ocean. Sitting there. It was such a sight that I had to stop and take a picture. Hilary woke up and wasn’t as amazed as I was. I couldn’t get over it. What is a submarine doing in West Texas?
As I looked around, I realized it was a junk yard. This orange submarine was sitting there because it was junk. That’s all it was anymore … junk. A heap of rusting metal. Once a marvel of technology and man’s spirit of exploration was now … scrap iron.
As I drove on I couldn’t help but think that many churches are like that. Sitting there. No longer engaged in the purpose they were created for. Not reaching the lost or being the hands and feet of Jesus but … just sitting there.
There are many who glory in that predicament. They are proud of the fact that their church is unchanged and still the same as it was 50 years ago, but to me it’s just sad. Because just like that submarine, a church that is no longer pursuing the purpose it was created for is just junk. Rusting. Decaying. Junk.
Jesus talked about salt losing its saltiness. He cursed a fig tree that did not bear fruit. Over and over again we see Him making it clear that if we’re not about the business of the kingdom we might as well be sitting in the junkyard.
The Spirit has been at work lately in our church and many others. We have committed to be people who love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We have delved deep into scripture and study to learn more of what that simple statement truly means. We have had new elders and deacons, we have a renewed focus on children and youth and we are excited every week about what God is going to do through us as we reach this community for Jesus. Yet still you will find people who wish it was “more like it used to be.”
We like to hold on to the safe, the comfortable, and the non-threatening. But like that submarine, while it may be safe, it is not fulfilling its purpose. A submarine sitting in a junkyard in West Texas is useless. Much like a comfortable, safe church.
Let’s not allow our church to stagnate, petrify or rust. Let’s make sure that we are all about kingdom business and fulfilling the mission that our Lord has left us.
Let’s be the Body of Christ. A Body that is bringing good news, hope and healing to a lost and dying world.
Otherwise, if we just allow it to sit … we might as well already be in the junk yard.