I may never look at peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the same way again.
Let me back up.
Church, noun. – “assembly of believers”
Interesting. I don’t see “fancy building” or “latest contemporary program” in that definition. Neither did Mr. Herships, who took that fundamental definition and ran with it. His path ended up outside the lines of most people’s comfort zones – meeting believers in a bar to worship.
While I know many people who would do a swift double-take on that sentence, I must admit, it’s not as far-fetched an idea as one might think. Bars are, by nature, gathering places. I’ve known girls nights, gatherings to watch any number of sports, and many more events to take place there. Why not a time of worship?
To that point, I know of many churches who exist within borrowed spaces. Many a church uses, for example, a school, or a community center, to meet. The locations vary greatly, but the action of gathering and lifting each other up is the same.
And that’s Mr. Herships’ point – it’s not about the building.
It’s easy to lose sight of how to truly be the hands and feet of Jesus. We get caught up in all the programs and statistics we can generate within the walls of our buildings, we forget to get outside and actually serve. Don’t misunderstand me, good solid teaching is necessary for solid growth, and I have a great love for a massive, beautiful pipe organ. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about Jesus. And it’s about being Him to those around us. This book is a great call to action, stirring readers from their comfortable seats and preconceived notions.
Go and meet them where they are. That’s what Jesus did, and that was Mr. Herships’ major premise. Take all that energy, those resources, and go. Not to add another tally in the attendance column, but to create relationships, to share the Good News we are all to be ambassadors of.
So where do peanut butter and jelly sandwiches fit in? The members of Mr. Herships’ church, the one he has had many people look at him in doubt about, end every meeting making sandwiches for the homeless community that they go visit every week. That is very humbling to see – this church of people, who those in conventional pews might scoff at, are the ones reaching out to others. If that doesn’t stir those in pews to action, to get in the game and join with their brothers and sisters, I’m not sure what will.
Again, let me be clear. I love conventional churches. I love the teaching, the community, the fellowship. But I’ve often seen them becoming more and more focused inward, and this book is a great call to readjusting our focus back to Jesus’ call.
Be forewarned, Mr. Herships does include a bit of rough language throughout, as he uses a very informal conversational style of writing. But beyond that, this book, releasing at the beginning of November 2015, is a good read.
I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley