Wallace Henley on God Smiles on Backyard Church

Across the fence a deacon from a local Catholic church sat on his back porch, strummed a guitar, and began singing a contemporary praise song in a beautiful tenor voice. Other people gradually overcame shyness and joined in.

On the other side of another fence, a spritely evangelical lady rejoiced that after weeks of quarantine that included a ban on gathering in churches, someone had finally listened to her plea for a neighborhood assembly to worship together and hear a message from the Bible. “People are so hungry to come together and hear the Word,” she had texted a neighbor.

So, a veteran Baptist pastor stood on his back porch, opening to a convergence of four other backyards and preached the gospel of the cross and resurrection.

That pastor was me.

Looking at the little congregation spread over the backyards, and considering the variety of people gathered, I felt the smile of God.

Years ago, with a group in Israel, I had tried to preach on the hill regarded as the location for Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The sense of His manifest presence was so strong I couldn’t speak more than a few words without weeping. There was a purity about the place and moment, perhaps in our own spirits, but nevertheless so holy that we all were moved.

Backyard church wasn’t quite that strong, yet there was a sweet holiness about it that was cleansing and refreshing.

My wife and I agreed backyard church would go down as the most memorable Easter to this point in our lives — and we have been part of awesome services across the years.

On the previous Good Friday evening she and I had driven to a church parking lot and taken communion with other believers at a drive-in service. We watched as worshippers lifted their hands to the Lord by waving them outside car windows and honked their auto horns to raise up a hallelujah and shout an amen.

On the following Sunday as I preached at backyard church, I had the sense of confronting the principalities and powers of the “air” (Ephesians 6:12-18) and fallen nature itself with the proclamation of the Lord’s resurrection.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Wallace Henley