Last blog I mentioned the transition to a new church going well. That was overstated. While we have attended for a year, we haven’t found what we were looking for. And it’s frustrating to think about starting over but that’s what we’ve decided to do. We’re looking for a place to invest long term. We’re used to working at church. To be fair, we moved from being plugged in up to our eyeballs to little place to serve, while people told us to enjoy resting. If you know us you’re laughing.
As I sat and listened to the high school principal welcome the rising 9th grade class of 2016 on their graduation from 8th grade, I thought, “Well Lord, here we go.” We’ve stuck it out at churches. We’ve stuck it out at schools with less than helpful teachers and now, with the few years remaining before the top two birds dry their wings and fly, we have less patience with sticking it out and more urgency to help them develop a sense of what the Lord will do as they become people who will find their own churches in which to worship.
All this brings me to Facebook and the market fiasco. See the connection? Right, probably not. But really…Once upon a time corporations sold stock to raise funds with more risk than banks were willing to take and convinced investors their investments would gain in the long run, not make them a fortune overnight. As an aside, my paternal grandfather thought the stock market was gambling and hated the idea. Facebook has proved him right. Talk about a company that didn’t need money. The stock sale was set up for short term gain. And our culture views everything that way. Fast return on minimum investment.
So what about church?
It would be great to go to a healthy church where there isn’t conflict, Jesus is worshiped, the Spirit is active and acknowledged and the Father is pleased. Where people love and care for each other, they always offer just what you need and never raise red flags. Hurray! Except you have to die to get there. From here church is people who need Jesus just as much as you do. Conservative churches drive you nuts with emphasis on theological detail over the straight forward message of the gospel and preference for tradition over people, while liberal churches make error out to be more loving than truth. Add personality conflicts, baggage from previous experiences and style preferences and you’re exhausted just thinking about it. Finding a church home requires what most of us would rather not do on Sunday mornings. Work.
So why go? What’s so important about investing in church Sunday after Sunday? Because of Jesus. If we want to be like Jesus we have to choose to get messy. Birth is messy. He didn’t have to be born. He emptied himself. We prefer our churches to fill us. Sometimes they prefer to fill us rather than accept God’s using us to fill them. It gets complicated. But church is the place God uses to show us Himself. Outside the family, the most specific place where Christians are called to learn the lessons of loving messy people is the church as the world knows we are Christians by the way we love each other. So as we leave, we love that God provided a place to land when we first arrived in a new home and we are disappointed that we can’t stay. We love the people God provided for us to meet and we move on knowing all this is not apart from the hand of God.
Blessings for growth in the areas that God is moving you!