Wow! I have missed writing. I have missed loads of things the last few months. I have missed:
- The scent of the beach when I walk out my door in the morning;
- The teenagers taking over my house on Wednesdays;
- The sand and the sun;
- The Pizza (mmmmm, the Pizza);
- Sleeping through the night (without a child's elbow in my back);
- Having a complete, uninterrupted thought;
- Having a vision for my future;
- My kids doing their own laundry; and
Wow! I have missed church.
Every week my family loads up in the Suburban and heads to a church service. This journey started in June. Since then, we've been to quite a few different churches in a few different states, committed to just going until God opens other doors. I experienced my first satellite church, and an urban church, smack in the middle of downtown. Friends have invited me back to a church I was part of before we moved to Florida, and other's have asked me to try their new church. Some small, some huge.
In San Antonio, there are churches literally on every single corner. Loop 1604 is a sort off “Church Alley” where you can find any type of church you can possibly think of. In a way, finding a church here (or in America in general) is like the toothpaste aisle at Walmart. Twenty different brands, thirty different flavors, all promising a cavity free, whiter
But not any church will do. Not because churches aren't doing good things or offering good programs or ministries or groups or worship music or __________(fill in the blank). More so because God has give me, and our family, a specific vision for our part in Kingdom work.
The five years I spent in Florida helped me develop a pretty concise perspective on what I think church should be. My perspective is not cemented, and my opinion is not pridefully rooted. In other words–I don't know it all, and I'm always learning new ways of doing things. But in my thirty-BLEEP years of life, and my twelve years in full-time ministry I have devised these ideas (in no particular order, except for the first one) for what church needs to be for me and my family:
FIRE. Too many churches focus more on programming than they do on being Holy Spirit led. I want a definitive sense of the Spirit moving-during worship, during the teaching and amidst the people.
CLOSE. I have traveled as far as 45 minutes to be a part of a church body. I could write a separate blog on the downfalls of this for my family. We know that our church needs to be in the community in which we live, go to school, shop and work.
DEPTH. There is a saying about mega-churches. Sometimes they tend to be “an inch deep and a mile wide.” Our church needs to have true Biblical teaching. I want a Pastor whose messages are based on Scripture and filled in with examples and stories–NOT encouragement and stories filled in with Scripture.
KIDS. My kids have to be challenged in some way. Growing up basically as Pastor's Kids, they have heard all the typical stories and the typical takes on Scripture. I want my kids to be challenged to have a faith a part from their parents.
PURPOSE. To me, church is the hub for making disciples. The lost should be reached and the believing should be challenged to reach them. There should be a raining of the love of Jesus so that the broken can receive healing. As God is not a God of chaos I think a church should have order. People should love to talk to each other and reach out to new faces. A church should want to multiply not grow. It's purpose should be rooted in health not wealth. It's sole focus should be challenging people to live a fully surrendered life to Jesus.
Sounds like a tall order, I know. But it's not impossible. I don't expect or even desire perfection. What I want is to see that the heart of the people are truly about Jesus. I believe that there is huge responsibility for those who lead, and I want me and my family to be a part of something that will be pleasing to God.
What are your thoughts on church? Comment and share with me, I'd love to know about your experiences with church–good and bad.
Have a fantastic Monday. You are loved!