Dead Kittens And the Gospel (by Rob Tevis)
The below was written by a fellow church-planter in our denomination. //
God has called my family to plant a church in Fox Chase, a neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia.Since we’re in the incubation stage of this plant, we are spending months discovering the felt needs of people in the area, recruiting and training a team, and looking for practical ways to love people. We want them to know Jesus, so we try to care in creative ways.
One day, only weeks after we moved in, I found myself holding a dead kitten wrapped in red cloth and tied with a pink ribbon while standing over a four foot hole dug by my neighbor with a post hole digger. In one hand: this kitten bundle, and in the other the Bible. My family of six had enthusiastically volunteered to bottle feed abandoned kittens found by Animal Control. Our duty was to help these one to three week old creatures make it past bottle feeding and eventually find a permanent home. Some kittens don’t make it.
That is why I was there that day. One of the kittens had died the night before and my four kids demanded a kitten funeral. Little did I know, however, that my kids would also be following the words found in Ephesians 5:16 (NLT): Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. They made the most of this sad situation by inviting all of their new friends. They ran up and down the block and invited six other families to join us. The funny thing is, it wasn’t just the kids of these families who showed up. Adults came to check out the kitten funeral!
In a very real way this was Fox Chase Church’s first worship service. No song was sung. We didn’t take communion, and we didn’t take up an offering. Eight adults with about twelve kids stood around that hole and had a good old fashion back yard Bible kitten funeral! I opened my Bible to Romans 8 and shared verses 22-25. The point: Jesus saves; and He will even redeem all of creation. Death is the result of sin, but Christ brings resurrection life! There was no altar call, but our family was able to plant seeds that day. As we placed the kitten in that hole, threw in some flowers, and covered him with dirt, I prayed for my neighbors. I hope that I will be able to see the seeds planted during that funeral grow into a vibrant church that stands on the resurrection promises of Jesus. God is good!
– Rob Tevis, Fox Chase, PA