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Sometimes people who don’t go to church understand what church should be like better than those who do.  Let me say that again, in a different way.  It’s often the case that people who don’t like church know what church should be like better than those who do.

I was reminded of that this weekend when I conducted a memorial service for a dear woman who was born in 1923.  The service was held on the lawn at the home of one of her children, a daughter.  The son-in-law was a big, life-loving man in shorts, loafers and a bright red Hawaiian shirt.  I noticed him as clouds were approaching, he shouted out, with beer in hand, “We better get this thing rolling before it rains.”  That’s my kind of usher.

As we waited on others to arrive, he and I met and talked a bit.  He asked about the new church, and I told him that we are trying to start a church for people who don’t like church.  “Well, that’s me,” he said.  Then he began to tell me about a church a friend had taken him to that he really liked, it was so different.  The music, the setting with screens, the young people who were there and really involved.  The only thing was that it was about forty miles away.

Then he made a statement that I don’t want to forget:

“That church was so full of air.”

What a great description!  I didn’t want to ruin it by asking him to explain it.  His tone did that well enough.  What a way to describe life and vitality in a worshipping community.  People know it when they see it, don’t they?  It means more than plain enthusiasm, but that is certainly included – people are thrilled to be there.

Lord, forgive us for accepting deflated worship, deflated life with you.  May our lives be full of air.  May our gatherings be compelling and contagious, because you breathe life into all things.


  1. Well, there you have it Mark- a fascinating description from someone articulating what we heard years ago… a church for people who don’t really like church- inflated with the essence of God and fullness of relationship and authenticity: just now with hot/stale air!

  2. I Love that you got to meet my uncle…

  3. Barry Washington says:

    Yes, Mark. That air is like the first breath of spring. You feel like a part of creation again after a long cold winter. To have that reality in worship provides a glimpse of God’s eternal love and grace through Jesus Christ. Mark, the Lord has used you to bring that hope before. It sounds like you’re in for a repeat performance. What a blessing is in store!