The Price of Worship – Who Needs Walls?
Land to build the church-Donated by the mayor – $0
Wood for church frame – collected by individual members -$0
Used tin for the roof of the church – donated by individual members – $0
Salary of the pastor and staff – $0
Relationship with Christ – Priceless
Does God show up? – You Bet!
As some of you may know, a large part of my time (Alex) lately has been focused on finishing our house and completing another class room for the Abundant Life School (Instituto Vida Abundante) due to open next February. This blog is simply a general musing that I have been kicking around during my time working on these projects and watching a church be raised next door these last 2 weeks. I have spoken to local pastors about my thoughts, and their shock as to how things work in US churches versus La Moskitia is astounding. I simply wanted to put this on paper to gain insight and open dialog for some good solutions and ideas.
In a time where US churches are looking for all the “hooks” possible to bring people in their doors, it’s refreshing to see people willing to spend days working hard and building a place of worship from almost nothing. The members brought wood and individual pieces of tin for the roof. Each member put in work hours and brought what they had to offer.
Similarly, my home church, Pin Oaks Christian Fellowship, recently spent hundreds of volunteer hours renovating a new worship space. Each person brought their expertise into the remodeling and the end result was a beautiful space to invite Christ in and welcome guests.
What can other churches around the globe gain from seeing such sacrifice? What can churches do to help their brothers and sisters that are hungry for the Word? Are there established churches that are actually capable and willing to assist churches like this one in our La Moskitia neighborhood?
I’m continually amazed that the majority of denominations in this area are not aided by outside churches of the same denomination. The pastors here are very much like Paul as he worked as a tentmaker; they have other jobs that supply some sort of meager income. We try to hire as many pastors as possible on our building jobs, because work is not easy to come by here. Because of the volatile job market, the fact that pastors are not paid by the church and the lack of time to really study the Word, their biblical knowledge is somewhat limited. But, their passion is not.
So what’s the answer?
I’m as guilty as anyone at getting bored or distracted at church over the years despite dedicated pastors, lots of coffee, music, and climate-controlled atmospheres. Church here in La Moskitia can be a real struggle during the hot months, but I have come to enjoy and appreciate the entire experience. There is a true thirst for fellowship, biblical knowledge, and worship here that is unique. Pastors will photocopy entire bible study aids at their own expense and share them amongst themselves. Most poor church members do not have their own Bibles and there is no way to even think about purchasing one.
So, do you see the paradox of the situation? Where churches are funded, beautiful, and inviting attendance, statistics show that faith is suffering. Where people break their backs to raise a church, they are willing to put up with just about anything to learn more about Christ? Where can the two meet together for the best of the church worldwide? How can one share some of their passion and the other share some resources? Your input and ideas are always welcome.
[box] Alex & Laura Waits are missionaries to the Miskito people of the remote La Moskitia region of Honduras. They are faith-based missionaries which means that they rely fully on God’s provision through churches and individuals to meet their monthly living expenses. The Waits moved to Honduras in August of 2010 to follow God’s call to live and work among the indigenous Miskito people. They have 5 children: Aidan, Arlee, Adam, Aaron and Cumi Joy. Alex and Laura work in the areas of discipleship, education and sustainable solutions through the non-profit they founded, Reach Out Honduras. Currently, their primary work is building and preparing for a middle and high school that will begin in February of 2014.[/box]