I just got back from a Covert Op to crash a church after dark, hold a worship service, and spend the night.
I would have called it “A Shepherd Rounds Up the Strays,” but the church does not want them. So, I had to go stealth. Guerrilla Spiritual Warfare… let’s say. I barely know the crew I went with; we have met a time or two before. But it was dark when I hit the streets looking for a place to spend the night, and I bumped into Agent D, Agent I, and their friend just after they got kicked out of the park by the police. They got in my car and I said, “Where’s a good place for us tonight?”
After a couple of ideas floated out, I said, “I wanna crash at a church!”
The immediate response was, “Oh no! We don’t want to go to jail!”
Think about that a minute. The automatic response of these homeless people to the proposition of taking refuge at a church after being run out of a park by city police is that they “don’t want to go to jail.” Hmmm…
I am sure that in heaven that is known as a PR problem.
I spent a lot of effort convincing this group to go to a church with me. They relented in the end, but there was much discussion over communion and amid prayer about how we might wind up in jail for worshipping and taking refuge at a church after hours. And so, though the shepherd went out and rounded up three strays, the mission is a covert op.
And every church member of Lubbock can wonder right now if it was their church building that hosted Jesus last night, but did not open the door. Every church member of Lubbock that reads this can wonder if it is their church that causes the homeless strays to be afraid of going to jail if they seek it out for refuge. (Except for the premier homeless church – they don’t have to wonder there. They make it a purposeful practice to call police on their parishioners after hours!)