“It worked! It really worked!” a ninth grade youth ran out of his Family Group meeting a few weeks ago, excited to tell me about the prayer activity he led with his group.
“I lead a (family) group at Wednesday Church, and the kids are so excited to tell us about their day and say they look forward to Wednesday Church all week.” –a tenth grade youth, sharing with Charge Conference a few days ago.
“My (kindergarten) granddaughter was telling me all about Wednesday Church and how much fun it is, and when she finished, she put her head on my shoulder and started singing Spirit of the Living God.” – a testimony from a coworker of one of our Leaders.
Some of you may have noticed when I post our weekly attendance – we average about ninety children each week at Wednesday Church. But what’s happening beyond the numbers is so exciting – the three stories above are just a tiny glimpse of the amazing ministry we have with the kids at the school next door to our church.
We have five dedicated Young Adults (age 19-33) every week. We have five Adults: two of whom are over the age of eighty; one of whom has been serving with Wednesday Church in some capacity for twenty-three years. We started the year with seven high school youth – all of whom are in marching band (which takes up a bunch of time) – five of whom insisted on leading a Family Group. Since we started, those seven youth recruited six more. So we now have at least ten youth each week, playing with the kids, serving meals, leading family groups, helping behind the scenes.
We have around a hundred and fifteen kids on our roster – from Kindergarten to fifth grade. They encompass a wide array of religious, socioeconomic, and racial backgrounds, among other things. They are full of energy and eager to play, eat, and learn. Though mostly, they just want someone to listen to them and play with them – to notice, see, and love them. They sing and dance during Sanctuary Time and are unafraid to let the Spirit move and take hold of them. There is nothing in the world quite like a hundred kids and youth singing “Spirit of the Living God” with such intention, like they mean every.single.word.
Many well-meaning people have suggested that “all those kids (and their parents) need to be at church on Sunday.” My response is this: yall need to come to church on Wednesday! What we do on Wednesday is a legitimate expression of everything that “church” is. We worship, we play, we serve, we fellowship, we share meals. We struggle to live in community together as we figure out how to put in to practice what the scripture teaches about how to get along and how to deal with conflict. We develop leaders by creating opportunities for taking ownership of the ministry we have together. We are an intergenerational community who values each person and celebrates ways we can learn from one another as we explore and share our faith. This is church.
Many of our Leaders will share at the end of the day, that perhaps that day they didn’t feel like coming, but being with the children gave them a renewed sense of energy and excitement. These children have our hearts. We share the love of Christ with them, and they in turn share the love of Christ with us. At Wednesday Church we share the love of Christ with one another. It is truly a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. Every.Week.
My hope is that all who participate in Wednesday Church and who hear about Wednesday Church can remember that church doesn’t just happen on Sundays. We are the church every day. We are the church in how we share love with our neighbors – expecting nothing in return. We are the church in how we respond to the world around us, attending to those in need and showing mercy and compassion to others. We are the church in how we honor the youngest and the oldest among us, and the divine presence in each of them, celebrating all they have to offer.
So whatever day it is, go – be the church.