Church at an Arts Festival

Several years ago I argued that you couldn’t have church at a swimming pool. A friend was attending an in-home Bible study and commented that the upcoming week they were meeting around the leader’s pool. “That’s not church,” I argued. “That’s swimming but making yourself think it’s church because it’s with church people” or something like that.

I was immature and stubborn about it. I thought I had a point but I wasn’t getting my point across because I wasn’t really listening to the other side. I had made up my mind that you can’t have church poolside even before really considering it or hearing how it was going to work.

Well, tornadoes damaged my church’s building about two months ago and we’ve not been able to meet in our regular building. Our relationship with area schools is so great that several schools offered use of their facilities to us. The first week after the tornado we met in the elementary school gym. Since then we’ve met in the high school cafeteria, and the youth department has used the middle school for its Wednesday night worship. Our Sunday morning small groups have moved to Wednesday nights and are held in homes.

I’ve greatly relaxed my view on what constitutes as “church.” It’s not the building or the lack thereof, it’s the people. I knew that but still something about the use of a pool as church had rubbed me the wrong way.

Everything on earth (except sin) can be done as an act of worship to God. — Louie Giglio

This past Sunday at the annual art festival downtown, I heard off in the distance a choir singing praise songs. I led us over to the tent from which the sound was coming and sure enough, there was a local church choir that had just taken the stage. We sat and stayed and while and had “church” — believers together singing and praising the Lord — at an arts festival.

Can you believe it? Church at an arts festival? If the future me had told me all those years ago that someday I would consider singing at the arts festival “church” I would’ve argued with her. She was wrong. Makes me wonder what else she could be wrong about ….


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