‘A Word from the Pastor’ By Clayton Adams
Recently, I came across a really good coffee shop in mid-town Memphis. It’s close to the Zoo and Rhodes College and is the apparent anchor to a very eclectic neighborhood. I like to sit inside at the coffee bar or out on the sidewalk enjoying good coffee, watching people, reading and writing, it’s very relaxing. I meet all kinds of people and enjoy their company very much. Most are college age to mid thirty something with a scattering of seniors. I like the ‘illy’ coffee served too! This neighborhood coffee shop is a good example of people enjoying life, family, friends and folks just living their lives. A church should be a place where people can come for friendship, encouragement, fun, and a source for spiritual food like the stuff Jesus spoke of in John 4:13-14 and what the apostle Paul wrote “for reproof, correction and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Few people value being reproved, corrected and only a few receive true “training in righteousness,” our culture just doesn’t promote that kind of lifestyle. I don’t blame the culture – it is what it is, will become what it becomes and I have no doubt, much like the Roman empire, our culture will crumble from within. It is isn’t it? Sitting in the coffee shop on a recent Saturday morning, while my wife and daughter participated in an exercise class (I exercised my right arm lifting the heavy coffee cup to my mouth) as I watch young parents interact with their young children – brings back very vivid memories and I want to walk over and encourage the parents as they keep the pancakes from flying and wiping up the spilled milk. We all need encouragement. Perhaps this is the very thing the writer of Hebrews had in mind when this was penned, “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” I have concluded as a result of serving people in the business world, medical professions, academia and as a pastor – people need encouragement and someone to build their confidence while guiding them to find the purpose they were made by God to accomplish. As I drink my coffee at the coffee shop I believe that people come into this coffee shop is not for coffee (this is available anywhere) it’s because people are chasing after acceptance, friendship, basic familial bonds and a break from the non-stop psychological, emotional and spiritual attacks our culture inflicts upon the individual and family. My goal is to make church more like the combination of a neighborhood coffee shop and hospital. Church like hospitals, care for the spiritually sick, wounded and dying and like this midtown coffee shop, a church can be the anchor for a neighborhood or city and with the atmosphere conducive to life it will grow and will be used of God for good. Coffee anyone? Clayton Adams is pastor at Earle First Assembly of God. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find Earle First Assembly on Facebook.