This past week I spent one morning at Christ Kitchen. Here, around 40 women living in poverty gather around tables with bibles and stories to share, and wait for Jan to start the bible study.
Before I got there, as I drove down Monroe with the intention of gaining service learning hours, I had no idea what to expect. Bible study with strangers? And better yet, bible study with strangers I have nearly nothing in common with? Although I was excited to witness what I know is a valuable ministry, I couldn’t help but feel wary of what could turn out an awkward or embarrassing three and a half hours.
My fears (as per usual) were proven futile almost immediately.
With all honesty, I haven’t been a part of a bible study in which people have spoken so believably in a long time. There was no question that when these women spoke, they meant it wholeheartedly.
“I am rich, for the kingdom of God walks with me every day,” one woman said. She lives in poverty. Or, although burdened by countless reasons to worry, another woman said, “I’m selfish if I don’t share eternity with other people.” She could easily justify selfishness, as making ends meet is a daily battle. However, her concern is others’ eternity.
I love talking about the church. And I love theology. I know that talking through the details—in classes, small groups and sermons—is really important. But sometimes we get too caught up in the details, and forget the reasons we’re talking about faith and living at all.
It’s about what these women were talking about early Thursday morning. It’s about relying on Christ in every way. It’s about recognizing the riches you have, rather than dwelling on areas of need in your life.
The gospel has come alive in this ministry. The focus is solely on Christ because Christ is the one (and only) thing that sustains these women daily.
Likewise, the church ought to seek sustenance from Christ alone. I think if this is done, the church becomes far more missionally effective. Those women and I do have something in common—Christ. We don’t need to have worship taste in common (I sat next to a rapper). We don’t need to come from the same background and we don’t need to have the same fears or dreams.
But having a common purpose and source of life can cross cultural and socioeconomic boundaries. It can make the church less of a club and more of a mission.