Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yours, Mine, & Ours

Paris has been an incredible experience. Its given me a lot of time to reflect and think about things that I haven’t had time to think about. One thing I’ve really been struggling this past year is this whole church thing, and what we are supposed to look like. I've been talking a lot about church with my roommate Kelly and she really opened my eyes to a lot of truths about the church.   Over the past two years I’ve visited a lot of churches and started getting involved in an awesome ministry outside of my home church. It’s been so refreshing to see different kinds of ministry that cater to different kinds of people. Lately, I’ve been observing the postmodern church movement and have noticed a few things.

I feel like there is a common understanding that the needs people have from their church have changed, therefore church needs to change. Fire and brimstone preaching just isn’t effective anymore, and people come to meet for relationships first and Christ second. There is this undercurrent in the Christian community that we need to get back to the basics of what Jesus did when he was here on Earth. Love God. Love people.
Because people want to return to smaller, intimate group settings, they are breaking off from the larger mainstream churches to plant new churches. I love this idea, I love the idea that people are trying to reach their community in a way that meets their community’s needs.  
My roommate Kelly and I have been talking a lot about church and she made some really good points. Unfortunately, love isn’t the only motivation that drives church planting. Offense, anger, unforgiveness, and competition are often underlying motives for starting churches. Someone gets hurt, and instead of dealing with their problems, they break off to start what they think is the “right way” to have church.  As a result, you have a bunch of people who are hurt and burned out trying to start a church. They may love God and love people, but if there is any motivation other than love, their ministry will not be very effective and ultimately fail. 

I love big churches. I love them because I grew up at one. My home church will soon be celebrating its 75th anniversary, and I am so proud of that. I am so proud of the founders of my church, the people who prayed, worked, and fought for a vision that God gave them.  A vision for their children, and grandchildren to have a church, a home, a meeting place where God would meet them every week. I am so grateful to my church for the person I am today because of its ministry. 

 About two years ago God started leading me away from my home church to follow him on a journey to find him again, and learn about ministry in different ways. So, I tried out different churches for about 6 months until God told me to stop at the one I attend now.  

On my journey God taught me that he is wherever his people are. He created us, uniquely and individually, so it makes sense that he speaks to us in different ways. We are created for community, so we form a church community around us with people who relate to God in the same ways we do.  This is ok, its good. People get offended by cliques especially in church, but a clique is just a group of people who love God and love each other.  

I still don’t know if I have this whole church thing figured out. But I think that it looks different for everybody, and Jesus knows what it looks like for each person. I think that as long as we are seeking him first, he will provide the community around us we need. I think that if churches understood this, they wouldn’t feel the need to lead out of past hurt or insecurity but in confidence of who they are in Christ and the small part he has let them be in his church. Because after all, it is his church

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