Standing in the lobby of Cape Carteret Baptist Church waiting for my disaster relief teammates, it hit me what I was looking at. The double doors to the adjoining room were open and inside I could see a stack of baby diapers ten feet high. There were tables of paper towels, cleaning products, personal hygiene supplies, toilet paper, and peanut butter. It was nothing unusual for a disaster relief site until the two words in big black letters above the door caught my eyes: WORSHIP CENTER.
That’s right. On the wall opposite the pulpit, just behind the rows of chairs where worshipers would sit for Sunday service in three days, was a complete “store” for victims of the storm to gather necessities at no cost.
Church members checked in mothers with children in tow, families with multiple generations, and folks of all walks of life. They gave them a shopping cart on loan from the local grocery store, invited them into the worship center, and walked with them to lend a listening ear as they gathered their provisions. I stood there realizing what a powerful image it was that the room dedicated to the worship of Christ was focused outward, flowing from the worship of Him.
We think of a worship center or sanctuary as a place where we give our offerings to God and certainly that is one of its purposes. I now know how incomplete that definition is. At Cape Carteret, they have turned the tables around and opened up the worship center as a place where the offerings of Christ are poured out for others.
– Mike Nuckolls