I live in a part of the world where Churches are expected to be a cross somewhere between an Activities Center, Theater, and School. While all of these things have their benefits in the end what do I want in a Church?
I do want a church with good teaching, wonderful music, and programs for my kids. But if I had to distill down what I would die without these would not be it.
There are 2 things I hunger for: the Presence of God and a sense of Family among my brothers.
These 2 things are the only things I cannot do without.
These 2 things are the only things that last forever.
These 2 things are about relationship.
These 2 things cannot be created by a great organizer.
These 2 things are not an event.
These 2 things require humility and the supernatural.
These 2 things give meaning to life.
What do I remember as the high points in my 51 years of life? Almost entirely they are memories with people and God – not a movie or an event I saw. I want to create more memories with God and with people.
As a Church leader how can I do this? I am not totally sure, but I know that humility and the priority of relationships over time and events is a place to start. I long for upper room experiences like were found in Acts 2. I long for encounters with God and with others like the 120 who were in the upper room together.
I am convinced that few Christians in America have ever truly been in the presence of God. I have not met Him enough myself but I desire to change that for me and for others. This is a value we often say in phrases like “I am going to go to Church to meet God.” But most of the time I find myself hearing about God and not meeting Him. I know it can only happen if we are not in a hurry to go somewhere else and give true opportunities to encounter Him.
How do you describe God’s presence? It’s hard. It’s not a meeting as we typically define it but a meeting with an awesome, loving, holy Person. When you leave God’s presence you can’t really describe it. But once you have been in His presence you want nothing else from then on. You are spoiled as to what ‘meeting with God’ means.
The other thing I hunger for is family, true family as described in the Bible. Have you noticed that the concept of family with brothers and sisters is all through the Bible? Even in the New Testament where we get a glimpse of what the early Church was like it was often best understood in family terms. God is a family God! What does Biblical family mean? Here are some ideas.
Family is where we don’t have to pretend we are anything other than what we are.
Family is where we don’t have to worry about whether we will ever see each other again. We know we will, for better or for worse!
Family is where each member’s joys and pain are shared.
Family is where we are free enough to admit we need help and we receive it.
Family is where we are a member no matter how we act.
Family is people that we enjoy hanging out with and expect to at all major events!
The presence of God and a sense of family – these are the things I hunger for in a Church. How do we make that happen? I am on a journey to find out but I have experienced it enough to know that I will never be satisfied with anything else. This is why I am still involved in the Church as a leader. I want to see these two things I hunger for be satisfied in me and my family.
These are my thoughts what are your yours?