The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him… Genesis 12:1-4
My exit from our last church wasn’t quite as dramatic as the event that took place between Abram and God. Not knowing where he was going, but following God’s instruction, Abram packed up and did what he was told. God told me the same: to pack up and move my ministry and family to an undisclosed location. Very espinoge, very CSI, very James Patterson. I wish it were as exciting. All God told me was to find a church body closer to home. Thanks, that narrows it down.
So over the last two months my family has visited two churches. I know, we could be moving through it much quicker, but we have a plan. Well, sort of. Well, not really. But here are some things I’m learning as we go:
I’m HORRIBLE, absolutely HORRIBLE at being a part of a congregation. It is IMPOSSIBLE, absolutely IMPOSSIBLE, for me to turn off the church-planter mind. (More on that tomorrow). I analyze every aspect from the moment our wheels hit the driveway of our church experiences. It is a blessing AND a curse.
My kids don’t have a huge say so in what we decide to do. I value all of their opinions, but unless I see some real spiritual change in them and trust that what they are hearing is from God and not from their own child-like selfish desires, Dad and I get the final say so on everything, all of it, 100%.
There are some “really good” churches doing some “really good” things. But God has given me a specific vision, and purpose, and I’m doing my best to drown out the “really good” stuff so that I can “really” hear his voice.
I’ve enjoyed visiting a church that has it’s own building. Never did I think this really made a difference, but it’s refreshing to not be in a make-shift environment. It reminds me of my childhood where we had a church, and a Sunday School building and a place for the constant dwelling of God. Where memories were built beyond Sunday morning, and people could linger because there was nothing to tear down.
Our family needs church! No matter how many good sermons are online, or how convenient it is for us to sleep in on Sunday, my family needs to be part of a community that will challenge our thinking and our spiritual growth. With that said…
I’m looking for a church that makes me uncomfortable. So many people look for churches where they can be comfortable. People want to go to church to check it off of their To-Do List, feel good about going to heaven, and then get about their business. People want a church where no one really challenges their faith so they can continue in their sin and selfishness without full surrender or total commitment to Christ. People want the church to meet their needs in a consumer-istic way so they can have the perfect preacher and the perfect programs all meeting at times that don’t require sacrifice.
Looking for a church is not a shopping experience, it is a mission.
Too many Americans want a Church-Mart, or worse a Progressive, where Flo greets you and you can pick and choose whatever policy works for your family. But like God asked Abram, go from all things comfortable. Get out of your “world” and seek after mine. In order for us to have real faith, a deep relationship with Jesus, a total surrender of whatever it is we hold so tightly to, as a family, we have to treat this church-search like a time-sensitive, top secret assignment that the King Himself has called us to.
It is only then that we will find the blessing…that we will receive it and that we can be it to a fallen and broken community. Regardless of what the world tells you, church should not be comfortable. If it is, perhaps you are called to a mission of your own.