Thursday, March 29, 2012

What I like about my church

Tired of "10 Things the Church Needs to Change" posts and "5 Reasons Young People are Leaving the Church" posts, ad nauseum?

Then have I got a post for you.

Because I really dig my church. And the fact that I dig it at this stage while serving as a part-time pastor is a profound experience—because I'm seeing it like it is, warts and all. And, I suppose, if prodded, I could list its downsides. But truthfully, there is just no need. The Spirit of God moves in our midst, lives are changed, healing from addiction and the bondage of sin is happening all around me, folks are getting baptized, people are giving enough furniture for an apartment to single mothers who need furniture. The food pantry is feeding people. Trips to Haiti to build medical clinics are impacting fragile lives. And people are coming in to my office, begging to know how to grow closer to God.

The next time someone asks me what I do I just might blurt out: "Watch God transform lives. How about you?"

So forgive my enthusiasm, will you? More than any other church I've ever claimed to be a part of, the presence of Jesus is visible all around me, folks are putting feet to their faith. Just last Sunday, we had a baptism and membership service, and I got to stand up and tell the congregation about A., a young woman who got in a car accident that might have severely injured her and her infant son—and yet she emerged without a scratch. She felt God telling her to return to him, to find a church, and since she drives by ours, we were the first target. I called her. She started coming to my Sunday School class. I started discipling her. And before I knew it, she had downloaded every Christian book ever mentioned by anyone in our class. And read every one.

I came very close to dancing down the aisle after Pastor Rex and I baptized her, and she came up from the water, sparkling and clean, smiling and whole. 

There is an eagerness that follows true repentance that splashes off these new believers, all over me, reminding me of the new life in Christ that is ours. Not long ago, someone at church mentioned how he had been set free from his pornography addiction just two weeks after he accepted Christ. He deleted the girlie pictures and replaced them with Christian music, just like that. And I asked him what helped him overcome the addiction—believing that surely it was an accountability program or a mentor or something—all of which, I'm convinced, are powerful tools. And he simply said, "Jesus Christ," with tears in his eyes.

So pardon the effusiveness.  Please overlook my gush. But I belong to a church that loves in the name of Jesus, where He changes lives over and over again, where a woman can joyfully serve in any capacity when God has so gifted and called her.

And that is what I like—I mean, love, about my church.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
-2 Corinthians 5:17

Your turn: What do you like—or love—about your church family?

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