The Gospel Is Fun


Hebrews 13.16

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 

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Years ago one of my seminary professors lectured about how the church survived the first few centuries when Christians were being regularly persecuted for their faith. He first noted that the resurrection of Jesus was so powerful and transformative that the early disciples could not help themselves but stay committed to such a thing. But then he said something else that has stuck with me ever since, “And the gospel is fun!”

On Sunday afternoon I was running around in my “Church Can Happen Anywhere” shirt across out parking lot and thanking God under my breath for the beautiful weather. We had people from all over our local community spread out with more food than they knew what to do with and I was trying to make sure that everything for the celebration was going smoothly. The moon bounce on the other side of the pavilion was a huge hit, the drinks were nice and cold, but for some reason the slip and slip was remaining un-enjoyed over on the hill.

I promptly made my way over to make sure the water was flowing properly when a few kids followed closely on my heels. “Is it working?” “Am I allowed to go on it?” “How cold is it?” were the murmurings behind me and I assured the children that all would be well. 

After checking the hose connection I encouraged the closest child to try it out and before I could talk her through how the whole thing worked she was racing down the hill cackling with joy. Within the new few minutes a small crowd of kids and adults had gathered around the slide and it became abundantly clear the time had come for me, the pastor, to slip and slide down the hill as well.

So I did.

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I spent the rest of the celebration continuing to check in on people as was necessary and when we started cleaning up I overheard one of the little girls exclaiming to her mother (while drenched from head to toe), “This church is fun!”

The church is supposed to be a lot of things: faithful, holy, transformative, contemplative, etc. And sadly, one of the words least associated with church is fun. But on Sunday, we had fun.

The writer of Hebrews notes that doing good and sharing what we have is pleasing to God. Which, when considering the fact that Jesus spent his final evening with his friends doing exactly that, it makes a lot of sense. However, it strikes me that many churches and church-related activities have lost their sense of fun. And if the joy of the gospel was enough to sustain the earliest disciples, why aren’t we seeking that same kind of fun today?

One thought on “The Gospel Is Fun

  1. Probably because fun isn’t what makes a life fulfilling. The joy the early disciples had wasn’t the fun of bouncy castles and slip and slides, it was from a faith built on patient endurance trusting in the One who delivered them. This is the issue we face today. Many don’t know this faith because they are not willing to suffer to find it. They want fun instead, and that is just what you are offering them. Instead of helping them meet their God by living a life of sacrificial faith many leaders today want to give into the ‘self’ nature of believers which ultimately robs them of joy. To find the joy of the gospel once must be acquainted with the sufferings of Christ and the path of faith through the wilderness. When we see more believers turn into disciples by living 1Cor. 4:9-13 then we will begin to understand the joy and blessing that comes from intimacy with Jesus. Please don’t misunderstand. I am not against fun but the Body of Christ needs to learn how to follow Him in faith first and become mature. Without that maturity any ‘fun’ they have will be short-lived and temporal. The joy Jesus gives us is both for here and eternity. Frankly, after having walked through a brutal wilderness, I find the joy far more sustaining than any fun at a church picnic.

    Homer Les

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