I’ve fallen in love with church again.
It happened on a Saturday night.
My husband was stuck at work while I was home with our two rambunctious children.
They were tying capes to their backs and jumping off the top bunk…just for fun.
They were laughing so loudly and without restraint there were times I mistook their shrieks of joy for screams of pain.
My patience begin to wear thin and with very little “extra” money, church was a good, cheap idea.
I’d heard of this church MANY times. I knew acquaintances who attended regularly. They cussed like sailors, got drunk on Saturday nights and posted pictures of their church bulletins on Sundays. Certainly there couldn’t be much JESUS in this church. At that moment, I didn’t really care. We just needed to get out of the house.
I checked my children into their respective classes and found a seat towards the back of the auditorium.
The screen went black, the guitars began to strum and a young John Mayerish type fella began to lead a familiar worship song. The couple to my left wasn’t moved. The couple behind me talked loudly about the taste of the coffee served in the multiple purpose room. No one was paying attention.
I didn’t care. This was a ll the more reason for me to throw up my hands, toss my head back and truly attempt to pour out my heart to God in the hopes that He’d strengthen my weary mommy’s heart.
BAM!!! The presence of the Lord hit me smack in my face…like a “sloppy wet kiss” 🙂 There was such a sweet, intimate movement of the Lord’s Spirit. I didn’t feel like running, jumping, or yelling. All I could do was cry. I couldn’t even form my mouth to sing. Sara Bareilles Jr began to sing “I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side. ” I was undone.
When worship concluded (all too soon let me add), I wiped my tears and sat down.
The sermon was on the topic of adversity. It sunk in deep and I left refreshed.
But later that week I felt a drawing, a missing, a wanting to try this church out again.
That was 6 weeks ago. 3 years after deep church hurt, I have found myself feeling at home again at a “seeker friendly” church. How is this possible? I’ve been a Charismatic pentecostal since birth. I’m used to the resonating sound of a B3 organ, amens to color the message, lengthy sermons that include some doctrinal reference , stockings that itch my legs, and a sea of colored suits & decorative accessories.
Here I am visiting and falling in love with a church where I have yet to see a woman wear a skirt. The “sermonic selections” are pop songs appropriately used to coincide with the days message. The pastor looks like a model out of an Eddie Bauer catalog & goes by his first name …. (not pastor, elder, superintendent, bishop, reverend, apostle, minister, deacon)…..just his first name. And the altar call is not fueled by the fear of hell, but the invitation to a life of knowing Jesus and experiencing victory through Him.
It’s seeker friendly. It’s not a watered down message. Its the gospel of Jesus presented in a fashion that will draw, appeal to, and reach sinners.
For some reason, I’d felt guilty about the excitement I’d felt about being a part of this. I felt like I was committing an unspoken sin by enjoying this 75 minute worship service that was purposely set up like a presentation as opposed to a secret club that would make sinners feel guilted into becoming apart of.
“Is this enough?” I thought to myself.
“Is this really church?”
“Is it really ok that the woman in front of me took her boots off & sat with her knees pressed to her chest the entire message?”
It wasn’t until this week while reading Luke that I got my answer.
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor , but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance, but the sinners. “
Perhaps I’ve become so accustomed to going to church with believers who have always been in church & know church protocol & behavior , so much to the point that it didn’t bother me that there weren’t any “sinners” among us. Is not that the purpose of church? I feel like I’m standing smack dab in the middle of the oddest turn of events. Perhaps I’ve fallen in love with a church who can teach me the true meaning of the church. Perhaps it’s time I experience growth by standing next to a man who just finished smoking weed in his car and hasn’t been to church since his 8th grade confirmation. Perhaps this church can teach me growth by talking with a woman in the ladies room who goes out & gets drunk every Saturday night and comes to church just as faithfully on Sunday because she doesn’t feel judged. Do I have confidence that Word of God can do His job without my intervention? Am I only comfortable in a church where sin is preached more than the gospel? (That’s a message all by itself) Perhaps I’ve come to this church to truly develop compassion for the person who wants nothing to do with “church” and desperately wants and needs Jesus without all the theology, hermeneutics, frills and rituals. Perhaps I’ve come to this church because Jesus loves me too much to allow me to continue to build on a foundation of pride.
Whatever the reason, whatever the purpose, I am finally ready to go “all in” for a church building . I’m ready to volunteer in the children’s area, get involved in outreach and pour my heart into service. Not because I have so much to give this church, but because this church has so much to give….and I want to be a part.
Hi my name is Kelli & I am proud to attend a seeker friendly church.