What’s a church? Since our lives were about starting churches from scratch, it was helpful to have an idea of what a church should look like before trying to build one.
Rather than plow through the list of things church is not, let’s cut to the chase…
The basic building blocks for a church do not come from quarries or forests… you won’t find them on Amazon or in Home Depot.
The raw material for a church is the human heart… drawn to the Gospel message… regenerated—via repentance and faith in Christ—by the work of the Holy Spirit.
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. (Mark 1:15)
But that’s just the beginning… our clarion call takes us further…
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… (Matthew 28:19)
Where and how do we make them? I can think of many scenarios, but after returning in recent years to this American culture, I wonder if here the most effective medium for making disciples has been grossly neglected.
It’s a Spanish word comprised of two words: sobre (over) and mesa (table). It refers to the custom of remaining seated around the table after a meal, generally conversing over coffee with other guests. If you lived in that world for a while, you would just know… sobremesa time comes after the eating time. They are seamless halves of one gathering.
I can’t find a way to say it with just one word in English.
Looking back, I would say the moments that produced growth and real camaraderie were the after-meal-or-coffee moments far more often than Sunday morning moments.
It’s still true today… they are harder to generate here and less frequent, but sobremesa times are still the ones that crank my truck.
These moments are a crucial vehicle for mutual edification… for becoming a flock—however small or large—to which Jesus has promised the kingdom.
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)
We had a wonderful sobremesa time yesterday evening... a supper-Word-reading-sharing-praying time. I hope you have the same enriching experience of intimacy and spiritual fellowship in your life.
Best of all, every good, Christian sobremesa time foreshadows the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to all who have embraced him.
And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. Luk 13:29 (ESV)
Can you imagine…?
(There’s more to say about “sobremesa.” I’m thinking of relationships and attitudes it engenders. Until next time…)