For the first time in forty-five plus years I am not serving as a Senior Pastor, so a result, Betty and I have had the opportunity to visit around to different churches to evaluate and discover where the Lord would have us serve. It has been an interesting journey. We are looking for a place that is alive and gives life not only with the message of the Cross to an unbelieving generation but one that also assists Christ followers to recognize their identity and lead them to maturity to the destiny that God has also prepared for them. We love the preaching of the Word, but also good praise and worship music. Some of our worship experiences have included….
……feeling like a spectator while most of the worshiping was done by the worship team.
……worship room was so dark that an usher had to use a flash light to seat us and when the lights finally came on at the end of the service, we realized we were the oldest people present. 😊
… great music but preaching was with very little application to what we were daily experiencing.
……as we entered, we felt very unsettled as if everyone there probably fails less than we do.
……overstructured control of the leaders as they sought to control an environment of well-behaved and “we got it all together people.”
We recently visited a church community whose message was right on target, regular baptismal services that impacted you dramatically and as best we can tell so far, helps you wherever you are in your journey to maturity. It’s not a perfect place but I believe one that has the right motives as a life-giving community. We felt very welcomed. We have observed some real miraculous life transforming stories within this church. As we look around, we see the very youngest to the oldest who attend. We detected young adults by the scores which indicates something good is happening.
In most cases a life-giving church is messy, and you see all kinds of unedited life situations. Regardless of social or financial status, or ethnic background they feel that there is an opportunity for them……there is love, forgiveness, repentance, inclusiveness and grace.
Isn’t this to whom Jesus would have spent most of His time ministering?
I look at a church like raising a family…….at birth the little ones know nothing……you must lead them, love them unconditionally, forgive them when they fail, encourage them when they encounter difficulty……. stick with them through thick and thin in a connected relationship.
Oh God, give us life-giving communities through our churches