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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)

TITLE: Bringing It Together - We Are The Church
By Sharon Henderson


Marisa slowly ran her slender fingers across her bracelet as she sat in the corner of the cold concrete room that her dad now called his church. Tears stained her petite face. The gold bracelet with raised silver letters reading “BFF” was a gift from Sarah, Marisa’s best friend back home. ‘Home’ was where they lived before her preacher dad got this bright idea that he should start a new mission work in a foreign country.

She missed the USA where they had a real church with great activities for teens. Marisa and Sarah found a lot to do at that church. They sang in the choir together, went on mission’s trips together, and even had their first crushes on boys at the same time … and of course they met those boys at the church.

“I miss the worship service from our home church. Why, Dad, why did we have to give up our church to come to this block building so far away? There aren’t even enough people here to have a decent fellowship time.” More tears streamed from her light blue eyes. “I just want a real church again, Dad!”

“Honey, I know you miss Sarah and your other friends back home. I also know that you know that God has us worshipping and fellowshipping here for a reason. This is a real church. The people are the church. WE are the church.”

Marisa kicked the sandal off her right foot and sent it sailing across the room until it landed in front of the large washtub-looking bin that still had water in it from the baptism earlier that morning.

“Dad! Look around you. What do you see? See that metal thing over there? That is what you are now calling the baptistery. Can you even remember the beautiful stained glass behind your REAL baptistery back home? And what about Sunday School? Is a total of fifteen kids of all ages sitting in one corner of this room and ten adults sitting in the other really your new idea of Sunday School? What happened to the dream you had in our old church of having a thousand kids every Sunday? I want to go home to our real church with an actual baptistery and Sunday School rooms with teachers for every age, including teens!”

“Sweetie, this is our real church. This is our real baptistery. These kids need Sunday School just as we are teaching it. Remember, we ARE the church.

“Get real, Dad! You’re on your high horse right now ‘cause you think you’re some great preacher that can come over here and evangelize this whole country by yourself. Why? And what about Mom? Everyone loved her back home. Everyone said that she could provide encouragement in any situation … and you KNOW there were situations back there. Who’s going to be there for the church Dad? Who?”

“Marisa. What’s really bugging you? Calm down, okay? Come over here and sit down.” Putting his arm around his distressed young daughter, he continued, “I know that God has brought me here to spread the Good News to the people of this region. I may reach ten people or ten thousand. It doesn’t matter. And your Mom is being an encouragement here. ‘Risa, evangelism and encouragement are two of the reasons we are here in this church where we are THE church.”

Frustrated, she jumped to her feet, looking for a way to get through to her dad. Then she saw it … the stack of boxes where her dad had preached just this morning. “DAD! Do you see that stack? What is with that? You call that a pulpit? How, Dad, how? You had that gorgeous carved pulpit at home. I have awesome memories of hiding behind it as a kid and I dreamed of being married in front of it someday. But not now. Thanks to you, I’ll be lucky if I ever get married. Who am I going to meet and marry in this place?”

Her dad remained calm. “Marisa, darling, I love you. Your mom loves you. More importantly, God loves you. We are here for a reason. We each have spiritual gifts that God expects us to use right here in this place. You are part of His mission here. So get used to it. This is our church. We are the CHURCH.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 12/16/07
The girl's voice is just right - and her father is certainly wise. Love the repetition of your message - very effective.
Jan Ross12/16/07
Yes indeed, "We are the Church!" You brought out a great point in this article. Too many believe the church is the building, organized and pristine. Having been on the mission field, it's easy to long for the "easy" things back home--the way things were. But the Dad is right. Church isn't about pulpits and baptistries or stained glass windows. It's about the people, where two or more are gathered together in Christ's name. Your dialog was good--maybe a little awkward in some spots. You could have used your Dad to show his daughter how passionate he was about this mission assignment, helping her to see the 'real' church. But, all in all, it's a good story with excellent points. Good job! Christmas blessings! :)
Jan Ackerson 12/17/07
I like the fact that you didn't end it with a sudden change of heart on Marisa's part...more realistic that way. Very authentic-sounding, would make a good discussion-starter for teens.
JoAnne Potter12/18/07
Very realistic teenager--stubborn and self-focused. Yes, indeed! Maybe it is more realistic when she doesn't change her mind, but it leaves the story rather hanging. Maybe just a hint...
Temple Miller12/19/07
You brought the message, what the church's characteristics are not, through very believable dialogue. Good job!
LauraLee Shaw12/19/07
It is neat how you tied the themes of the quarter together. We need to be reminded of this important truth. Great job!
Sara Harricharan 12/19/07
Marisa was pretty real, teen-wise, I could sense her personality through her actions, rather than her dialouge though. (Like the flying slipper) ^_^

RED PEN: The opening sentence was a tad too long...lol. Maybe try to avoid too much detail, like her 'long & slender fingers', pick one or the other and don't draw it out too long, or use it in the second sentence. A good rule of thumb I try to stick with, is to see if I can read the sentence in a normal breath. ^_^ It helps a little, otherwise, this was pretty good. Also, be careful not to tell use what we know...like when the dad puts his arm around her, we know she is already distressed...we could see it.
Good writing!