On June 28th, 2009 we had our first date conflict with our first rented venue. We thought long and hard about what we should do and where we should meet. Then it struck us, let’s meet somewhere very public and invite everyone to come... let’s have a celebration. So we picked a public park, rented a tent, brought some food, broke out the guitars and celebrated God’s amazing love, and the response was amazing. As we left the park that day the thought running through most of our minds was “we are definitely doing that again!” Over the years we have moved locations and parks several times, but "church in the park" has become a regular staple in our life together.
When we think about church in the park it’s important to remember that we are NOT putting on an event “for” the neighborhood. We are gathering as a community in the park for worship and a picnic and inviting the neighborhood to come join us. You might be asking what’s the difference? The difference is actually very big. All too often as the church we are in the habit of doing things “for” people. And while this is not necessarily wrong, it misses the true heartbeat of the Gospel. As the church, when we do things “for” people or “for” the community we can easily remove our heart and simply make our effort an act of service or an act of volunteering. But what if we decided that instead of doing things “for” people we were going to do things “with” people? For example, what if rather than feeding a homeless or hungry person, you sat down and shared a meal with a hungry or homeless person? it’s at that point that everything changes. No longer are we world’s removed, but by sharing that meal we share life. We open our hearts and become vulnerable to people’s stories and then become vulnerable to ours and we begin to embody the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When it comes to church in the park our heart is that instead of seeing this as the one Sunday you can miss... you might see it as the one Sunday you can’t miss! Check back for our next church in the park date.