My family moves. A lot. With all this, I’ve been to a lot of churches. A lot. When we lived in Memphis, we spent at least 6 months going to different churches trying to find one my parents wanted to join. Now, my family are not church “daters”, there are just that many churches in the area. I remember we went to one church where the associate pastor looked like Weird Al and no one carried Bibles. I don’t even think the pastor had one with him. We went to ultra-conservative churches with organs and hymnals (nothing wrong with this) and churches with electric guitars and drums where people were not looked down upon for raising their hands while worshiping.
I just listened to a sermon by JR Vassar when he was guest speaking at The Village Church in Denton, Texas. Somewhere in the middle of the sermon I was hit with how HUGE of a difference there is in the churches I’ve gone to wtih my family versus the church I am a member of now in college and these other young pastors who are the new leaders of Christianity in America. Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, JR Vassar, etc. I’ll include my pastor in there, Butch Smith, even though he’s not quite as young as these other guys, but still not OLD. The focus has changed.
After listening to the podcast, I flipped back to the beginning of my journal to see old sermon notes from my old church. These new guys focus on community. My old church, Christianity still seems to be something you do by yourself. Those churches had great Biblical teachings, but after being at a church that has such a huge emphasis on community for the past 3 years, I see what those other churches are missing. We’re not meant to do life alone. Following God means glorifying Him with your life. If you’re trying to do this, you’re going to try to love others. Loving others means you have to interact and be a part of their lives, even if that entails giving them the hard truths that they need to hear.
I think too often we hope that our pastors and deacons will be the ones to do that for us. So we can just sit back, send a casserole if someone is sick but not get involved with people besides if something bad is happening. I fully believe people need to know they are loved during hard times, but they also need to know they are truly loved during the good times too. We need to build relationships.
We need to do life together.