One of the times we used that big garage door was as we very quickly illustrated the concept of "teamwork" last Sunday. (This was part of our "Re:Build" series.)
Here are a few things that were said (for a recording go here).
"We've been doing a series here based on the book of Nehemiah over the past couple weeks and I want to do a little children's piece based on that -- but I'd like to turn your attention to this little piece in the bulletin where it talks about what we've done so far in that series.We then opened the big garage on the south side of the building, and we handed out some colorful interlocking mat squares that the kids use in our children's area. They're about two feet wide and about 3/4 inch thick.
"When we come to Jesus we get built up into a spiritual house -- into a place of protection for all who need protection. So today I'd like to invite and ask you to go home from here and read chapters 3 and 4 of Nehemiah... Spiritually, the teachings in Nehemiah are not about a city in the middle east. The teachings of Nehemiah are about the spiritual family of God which spans all denominations and all around the world--and about the work that's needed to keep that family of God protected from the evil one. We're going to do a little piece now that will apply to that.
"So, I'd like kids to come over here... "
I wish I had a photo of the kids at work! Some took the task quite seriously, doing their best to interlock the squares. We only had a few minutes for our little "Time for Children" so we couldn't actually build the "wall" of floor mat squares... but we did discover that we needed more than just young children. We added older youth and then some adults to "seal up" the entrance, the gap in the wall of the building made when the garage door opened up.
As a dozen children and adults were doing their best to play along with my illustration, I said something like this:
"In the book of Nehemiah there are a lot of families that get involved in the building of the wall... Nehemiah inspects the wall and he sees that there are gaps... The lesson of chapters 3 and 4 is that it takes a lot of folks. It takes the whole community as they build this wall. Spiritually what that means all of us who are people of God have a role to play. When part of that goes away all of a sudden there is a gap. But we do need to depend on the Lord because--Can we make this complete? Absolutely not! But God does give us all a role.And then we prayed:
"That is the story of the book of Nehemiah. It's about building the wall around the city of Jerusalem, about taking our place in building the spiritual protection that is needed in the city of God."
"Father, we want to do what you want us to do. You know where the proper places are in the wall where each of us is to be working. Whether it's "over there, in that particular area" or over "here..." We want to release control to you, so that we're not the ones who are in charge of determining which piece of the wall, which part of your kingdom we are to be working in. We want to let you determine that. So come Holy Spirit and lead us. You need to lead us so we are doing the proper work at the proper time. In Jesus' name."The rest of the worship hour was led by this summer's "YouthWorks" team. I plan to post more about their presentation on our "Re:Build" page later.
The YouthWorks team is ONE example of ONE group that took responsibility for ONE part of the "spiritual building" that God is doing, both in the city they traveled to (Chicago's south side) and in the Dassel-Cokato area. There are many more parts, many more gaps to fill and gates to build.
So let's submit the needs to God, asking him to lead each of us to the place he would have us build, and then doing just what He says.