Our little church shut it’s doors. What a strange feeling to just all walk out together, hand in hand, all still friends, all still passionate for God. Like my pastor put it, everyone wants the dirt as to why, and people find it strange to accept the fact there is no dirt, no church split, no bitterness, no moral explosion. We all just loved one another a lot, and our pastors loved us so much that they died for us.
We as a little church, accomplished a lot, and impacted a lot, but most of all we loved God A LOT! We also went through a lot together, and when I say a lot, I am laughing because you have no idea….Like A LOT!
I remember once sitting in a leadership meeting, and we were all so battle weary, we were all heavy hearted, and exhausted, and I wondered if God was disappointed in us for not doing more, and then a strong image came into my mind. I saw Jesus, cross legged on the ground, nodding like he was heavy hearted too. He just sat with us, and felt with us. That was the beauty of our little church, we were never trying to strive for a perfect church, we were all striving to welcome a perfect God.
Closing these doors has been really painful, but at the same time a reflection on the truth that even Christ’s reign ended in death, and only God will get the triumphant finale. Our job is to obediently step out of things, and into things, the rest is up to Him.
So, here we are, and for the first time in my entire Christian faith, I have to “church shop.”
I have been to several churches in my lifetime, but when I left, I was either moving to, or called from one place to another with no bridge in between. This time, we are standing on the edge of a City, looking at churches ranging from Baptist, to Evangelical to Charismatic, to Catholic and we, after years of serving, leading, and attending church are kind of overwhelmed at the idea of searching for a church.
In different seasons of our lives we have needed different things, a place to grow, a place to heal, a place to lead, a place to serve, a place to learn something new about God, and a place to teach others. We have always thrown ourselves in 100% into the church, and that won’t ever change, but for now, honestly we’re tired, and we just want to find God.
This is not going to be easy choosing a church with a family our size, all prioritizing different focuses, and needs. My husband is a very anointed worship leader, but will there be a place for him when one paid worship pastor runs the show? I am obviously a pretty outspoken/out-written person – will there be a place for me where they don’t believe women should be heard? Will my kids find a place where God is more than the candy shop, or will they be bored? Will my teens find real friends? All this swirls in my head, and I often find myself in tears thinking “God! I don’t want church anymore, I want you!”
I am not anti church at all, being anti church usually means we are anti family, though most Sunday mornings with 5 kids in the car fighting I am not a huge fan, but I do love the church. I need the church, I need the people, the friendships, the teaching, the prayers, the encouragement, the prophecies, and the worship.
God will lead us to the right place, not the perfect place, but the right place. We’ll make friends, and we will volunteer, and we will worship, and bring our children, we’ll be faithful, I know it will all work out, but it’s all kind of weird, and right now, all I want in a church is God.
You see, the church was NEVER designed to contain God, He cannot be contained, he can’t be enticed, or manipulated into showing up. God doesn’t care about size, or service times, or stage lighting, God cares about hearts and I have 7 he needs to find! The moment a church believes it can “present God” or contain Him, the moment the spirit of God flees.
The church is the House of the Lord, which means its the place His spirit longs to return to because he’s welcome, where He lets His guard down, where He connects with His most loved, where He cleans up messes, and welcomes strangers. So for me, it doesn’t matter if the church has a coffee shop, or comfy seats, or eloquent speakers, I’m looking for God’s home.
What do you look for in a church?