I often wonder about the success of different Christian events. When I was in high school at a Christian private school, I bemoaned our weekly chapel service. What use was an hour cramped in a hot room where nobody wants to be there, and
where we are forced to sing songs we don’t like and rush through a part of the Bible, only to walk out of the room to be distracted from what we heard by our friends and the rest of the school day? As you can tell I was a bit of a cynic.
But towards the end of my schooling, I looked back over my years at school and the countless chapel services and other Christian events that I attended, and I began to wonder to myself: Where would I be if I never had any of those chapel
services, where God’s word was opened? Whilst I may not have felt like chapel was a ground-breaking initiative where our lives where drastically changed and revival broke out every week, I could definitely look back and see that all those weeks of chapel, together contributed to growing me as a Christian.
Who or what would I have been if I didn’t have all of those chapel services where God’s word, bit by bit shaped me more and more like Jesus? I don’t know where I would be, but I’m sure I would be worse off than I am.
So whenever we get together for a church event, I find myself thinking the same things I used to think about chapel. What’s the point? What does it achieve? And after our men’s event a few weeks ago I asked myself: Why did we spend several hours on a Saturday evening looking at Mark chapter 1, eating tasty meat, and hanging out? Was it worth it?
This time I thought I would ask a few guys who were there: What were you struck, encouraged or challenged by at our men’s event?
These are the responses I got:
“I found it to be a very encouraging and spiritually uplifting evening with lots to digest and ponder upon. We certainly are in need of constant reminding to repent daily. Furthermore, being told that we could be one generation from losing the Gospel was a real wake-up call...”
“We shouldn’t just be a nice attractive church, one who welcomes everybody, but a church were we are not afraid to tell everyone that they need to repent to be right with God.”
“I was encouraged and challenged by the need to repent and tell the gospel.”
Clearly my cynicism is not necessary here! What was the achievement of our men’s event? At our men’s event we were once more encouraged from Mark 1 to repent regularly in light of the judgement and salvation of God, be disciplined in prayer to the sovereign God of the universe, and to proclaim the life-giving message of the gospel, just as our Lord Jesus did. We were urged again to pass on the gospel faithfully, as it only takes one generation for people to not know the gospel at all. That sounds like a successful night to me!
I need to remind myself that it is not always about the measurable success a single time together or event can have, but it’s about hearing God speak in his word, and lives being changed because of that – bit by bit, week by week, event by event. And I think that’s what happened at our men’s event in a big way, and so I am thankful to God for his grace to us and his work among and in us!