I have been in a funny place with church lately. There is nothing wrong with my faith, as I am madly in love with Jesus. He is my every breath, and I want nothing more to serve Him every day for the rest of my life. But church? I am struggling with.
It started a few months ago, about a month after we began looking for a new church home. Now, if you have ever looked for a church, you know it can be miserable (which is a whole post all in itself), I have been there, and done that two other times. This time, however, I feel like I am having more of a Holy dissatisfaction, instead of frustration. I have spent the better part of 20 years working for churches. My whole career has revolved around a church staff job, and I have done many. Financial Secretary, Secretary, Youth Ministry Assistant, Preschool Director, Youth Director, Children’s Director, Campus Coordinator, Life Groups Director….and those are just the paid positions. As we have been visiting churches, however, I am finding I want more. More of what you may be asking…ugh…I could not figure it out either.
I kept finding myself in these services, at these churches, that are pretty much the same, with just different faces. Welcome, band, announcements, more songs, message, more songs, prayer, etc., etc., etc. Of course there are small differences in each one, things that really amount to preference more than anything. These are all lovely churches, with good people, loving and offering people a place to worship and meet Jesus. My heart is not to criticize the local church, I just want more.
This past weekend, I attended the Propel Activate Conference for women. Now, listen, I am not a women’s retreat/conference kind of girl…at all. But this conference is specifically for female leaders, in all facets of society, who are also followers of Jesus. The focus was how to use your leadership to “Propel” the gospel and build the Kingdom of God. I had high expectations of what would happen at this conference. I arrived with two friends and my teenage daughter, fully expectant of God to show me my next step. I tell you what, my expectations were way too small. God used five powerhouse women to ignite my heart, and stir my passion in a crazy way. Maybe in a way I have never experienced before.
There were three unbelievable preachers, Christine Caine, Lisa Harper and Lisa Bevere, one spoken word poet, Hosanna Poetry, and one worship leader, Jenn Johnson. From these women, came power, strength, unrestrained love for our Savior, brand new truth, and passion about our assignment here on earth. God stirred my heart more in nine hours on Saturday than in the last 4-5 years. I realized what this funny thing I have with church is right now. I want more.
I discovered, I am no longer satisfied with the program of church. I am not content to walk in for an hour and participate in timed worship, get a small nugget of information, give my money and go home. Here’s the deal y’all, I worked in my churches…I was never a spectator, I was always ALL IN…but I have never felt we (long term, churched Christ followers) are actually being the church the way God intended. I think we get close, but just not quite there, like we are still missing one piece.
I feel like we (those same long term followers) are a little too concerned with our own experience, we want the safety of a building and short service in order to share Jesus, give and serve. Maybe it has felt too comfortable, too controlled, too precise, and way too much about us. Maybe I am uncomfortable with how much the business begins to control the ministry, and different numbers begin to be the priority over the people. Maybe I am uncomfortable when we ask for volunteers to be with the children because we have empty spots, instead of because we have been gifted with children God is asking us to lead.
I am not naive, I understand why all of those things happen. I have been very involved and responsible for the “business” of church. At some point the business HAS to come into play…I think. But then I think, maybe we are just missing something? Is what I am looking for that place called Heaven? Is there a way to be the church and build the Kingdom, and to equip the saints without becoming a slave to the machine? Right now, I want to believe there is.
I do not know if I have any answers, or any right answers. I just know, God has been moving in my heart for the better part of a year, before I even knew He was moving. I know that I recently went through some painful pruning. Which I now believe was meant to refine me and prepare me for something new. I also know this past weekend, God spoke to my heart, through a room of a few thousand women worshiping without restraint, hands raised, hearts engaged, and voices as loud as they could sing, because that is where we were led. I know God used a spoken word poet to show me, I have been answering to some wrong names, and it is time to answer to the right ones. My names are Chosen, Called, Gifted, Child of God. I know God used three powerful preachers to challenge me in a way I have never been challenged, to remember I am a citizen of Heaven, sent to earth with an assignment, because Jesus is coming back, and God sent ME to share the good news. I know God reminded me, I have ALL the authority of heaven at my disposal, and I am entreated to use it.
So, I want more. I want a church where the worship is true, and deep, and coming from the depth of every heart, because we have been led to that place. I want to BE the church more than feed the business of the church. I want to actively love, every single day, and use all my gifts and talents. I want to be a light, pulling people out of the darkness, to see them rescued and saved. I want to one day see my Savior and say, “I didn’t play it safe. I was not more concerned with my comfort. I took my assignment and I gave it everything I had. Thank You for choosing and calling and gifting me.”
As you may have heard, the church is not really the building, the church is us. The followers of Jesus. We, all of us, are the ones who are called to love, and be, and do. We were not called to place a building, or a person who speaks in that building on a pedestal, as we look to be entertained. We were called to meet together, to worship, be strengthened and prepared, and then to GO! God has been telling me for the better part of a year to go, but I was far too comfortable and safe inside my church bubble. I was content with building the business, before the Kingdom. I want more.
Thank you so much for reading today. I know this may have been a hard topic for some. Please understand, I am not trashing the local church. I am urging us, THE CHURCH, to want and to be more. Let’s commit to urgently pray for open doors, and hearts willing to go. I would love to hear in the comments what Holy dissatisfaction God has been placing on your heart.
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