Six groups gathered for worship on the Baptist Temple Campus this morning. Five services were planned. One was a surprise; at least to the folks who plan campus events. Members of several motorcycle clubs, including the Banditos, gathered to remember a young man who was killed in a motorcycle accident at the intersection where our church is located.
The group that gathers across the street does not look like typical church attenders. They looked like the people that Jesus would hang with. You know, the kind that the Pharisees called riff-raff. No doubt most will count themselves among the “nones” (folks that claim no religious affiliation.)
Much is written today about the shrinking number of church attenders. The phrase “spiritual but not religious” is often thrown around. I can't quite define that phrase but, perhaps, what happened today in the shadow of Baptist Temple can serve as conversation starter.
These folks gathered on a Sunday to remember a lost loved one. They had rituals of remembrance and comforted one another in their grief; without the official sanction of the church.
The fact that they are doing this on the Baptist Temple Campus is due solely to the location of the accident. However, the location of Baptist Temple is no accident. Since the day after the accident our deacons and staff have spoken to the mourners and offered whatever help they needed.
These annual gatherings remind me of the human heart's need to connect with God and each other. It serves as a challenge to the church to reach out to the folks that feel out of place in the typical church; they way that the early church did. It gives me a picture of the people Jesus hung out with. Most important it a reminder that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.