It’s Sunday. l’m in the car early on this October morning. I leave the city and all the traffic behind and pretty soon I’m by myself on country roads, heading to this little church where I’ve been invited to share in a special Children’s Sunday. I’m happy to do it… children’s ministry is my passion.
I don’t really know what to expect when I get there, but I’m thinking that that this place won’t be packed. There probably won’t be many kids. But that’s okay, I remind myself. After all, some of Jesus’ most powerful conversations that would result in transformed lives were shared one on one, rather than in the crowd.
I keep driving, and driving, past peach farms and fruit trees, and nothing else, until I arrive at the railway tracks that have no lights. I obediently stop and as I do, I see a faithful little sign beyond, trying its best to stick up importantly out of the grass. It bears a cross and flame. I know that logo.
Chapel Hill United Methodist Church 1/4 Mile that faithful sign announces, with a little arrow to guide me just in case I get lost. After all, the road I’m on does seem to stretch into nowhere.
But I’m on the right path. And exactly one-quarter of a mile down that road, I get my first glimpse of the church. It’s little. And cute. It looks welcoming. It’s in the middle of a cornfield.
As I pull into the parking lot, I note that there’s even parking spaces ‘reserved for visitors.’ I try not to think about just how many visitors might come here. But the point is, this church is prepared.
It’s just that I’m not… I’m not quite prepared for what I experience that morning…
because inside those doors, something is happening, fueled by the undeniable and inextinguishable presence of the Holy Spirit.
Every pew is full. And there are children… lots of them. The worship is high energy as we gather to celebrate the launch of the re-envisioned Kidz Konnection. And I have to admit this is just not what I was expecting.
So much work, and thought, and planning, and prayer, and preparation has gone into this that I am overwhelmed… and so proud of this little church and all it is achieving.
And when we make our way up to the altar rail for communion, I get the biggest piece of bread I have ever seen, because, as the pastor says: who wants a little bit of Jesus? Don’t we all want a big hunk of Jesus?
Yes, yes, yes! This little church in the middle of the cornfield is offering a big hunk of Jesus to all who step though its doors. And that is a wonderful thing.
And I guess it doesn’t matter what size our church, whether we’re in the city or the country, as long as we’re preaching the Gospel and welcoming children as Jesus did.
As long as little children return from the communion rail grinning from ear to ear clutching a piece of bread so sodden in juice that it has turned pink, while others kneel at the communion rail, their eyes closed and their hands held high in prayer.
And when I leave that morning, I look out, beyond the cross, over to the cornfield and I watch the giant stalks blowing in the wind.
I think about that huge field of corn, and all the work and preparation that went into it. Of how a farmer must have planted those seeds, and nurtured them, and fed them, and proudly watched them grow, all the while anticipating a harvest.
And that’s just what this little village church is doing… planting seeds, and nurturing them, and faithfully fulfilling its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
There will be a harvest.