Having been, shall we say "different" for so very long, sometimes I forget that people can be a bit taken aback by some of the things our church does. But as a dear friend of mine put it, "They fly their own flag and are happy to do so."
Like a great many other churches these days, our services are currently being held drive-in style. A couple of my amazing deacons, brothers Ford and Davis, meet me bright and early each Sunday morning at the church, we load down the bed of my F-150 with a tent, sound system and many other supplies, and transform the church parking lot into a vehicle auditorium. Mind you, everyone is looking forward to the day that things are back to "normal," but for now, everyone is thoroughly enjoying worship as it stands now.
Our special singers are doing an amazing job, and people are paying great attention as I preach from the back of the truck. It has been a packed parking lot for weeks now, with many visitors attending, some of whom have not missed a single service.
Testimony time has always been a favorite for us. Hearing of the goodness of God in the individual lives of real people is amazingly encouraging. But since everyone is in their cars, we are now improvising to enjoy that. People text me their testimonies, and I read them to everyone. The honks of "amen" always bring a smile.
But this past Sunday brought something else extra special.
I have been pleasantly surprised how faithful God's people have been in their giving during all of this craziness; not one need has gone unmet, and every missionary we support has remained at full funding. And so, when a great missionary heading to Sri Lanka came through as scheduled, I knew God was giving us a great reminder of our responsibility.
Oftentimes when things are tough, people, even churches, turn their attention inward, hoard resources and wait for things to get back to normal before turning their thoughts toward others. But the very heartbeat of God is missions; he sent his own Son as a missionary to a far-flung field called Earth.
And so, in the parking lot of our church, we took on a new missionary. We always vote on doing so; people give, and therefore we want them to have a say in whom they support. But how to vote yea or nay in such a situation was the question.
And the answer was pretty obvious, at least to me. "Everyone in favor, please honk your horn."
There was a deafening roar of horns honking. There was also utter silence after I said, "All opposed, same sign."
A missionary drove in, presented his work from the back of my truck and was "unanimously honked for support."
Odd? I suppose. But then again, we have a member who joined over the internet, a shut-in who cannot leave her house and yet faithfully watches every single service. We told the church about her, formed a line and one by one our people walked by the camera, spoke to her and introduced themselves.
We also had a lady hobble in on a cane, give clear testimony of salvation and ask to be baptized and join the church. She could not get up the stair to the baptistery, so we inflated a decent-size pool in front of the altar, her two strapping sons picked her up and put her in, and we baptized her.
Mind you, we are an incredibly conservative church, utterly orthodox in doctrine and behavior. But we have made up our minds never to confuse tradition and expectation with commandment.
The Bible never says how to vote on missionaries. It simply tells us to take the Gospel to every person in every nation. And Paul, the greatest human missionary who ever lived, praised the church at Philippi, saying, "Ye sent once and again unto my necessity."
Reach out to take care of the physical needs of others, especially during such a time as this. But don't forget man's greatest need either, the need to come to know Christ. Send missionaries, even if you have to honk to take them on for support.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.