As many of you know, Chris and I are in the process of finding a church family. We have a large family of believers all over the world we are pieces of, but we want to meet others close by with whom we can have community life. So far it’s been happening very slowly, but I see it coming together. We’ve only been here 4 months and so that fact that we’ve met other Christians outside of the institutional church is just amazing in itself. Well, we wanted to meet more so we did what was recommended when in this position, and we put the word out… online.
So far we have met a wonderful person who had been looking online for organic church. He checked almost everyday. Hours after I got my little sight/post set up, he responded. He spoke about the Lord with such excitement and it kinda’ got me excited about meeting around the Lord again. He asked a little about our past and so I went through the usual ” We stepped out of the institution and didn’t know what we were looking for, we just knew that wasn’t it. We began visiting a group two hours away and moved there to be a part of it.” We talked about how we have no ill-will for the institution and actually thought we would be going back “in” once we moved. We tried, but couldn’t get past the audience style meeting. So many times I wanted to jump up and share as revelations of Christ surfaced, but only the one on stage could share. And I didn’t want all the other stuff, I just wanted Christ, but in the institution all the other stuff is needed to make the well-oiled machine run smoothly. The man who wanted to know all of this was so understanding and I felt safe opening up. When it was his turn to share about his story, it blew me away. He came to know the Lord naturally, through a prompting in His heart. He had never been to a church service. He recently read about Christ in the Bible and wanted to know this Man, the Christ. How fricken’ cool is that?! I immediately hung on every word. There will be no detoxing for this man, he has nothing to detox from. He knows Christ purely, having never known trying to “follow” Christ, and failing, and trying, and failing, and trying, and failing again. He knows the Lord lives in Him and wants to know the Lord more. No feeling pressured to serve by watching kids or stuffing envelopes, and being told we weren’t serving if we weren’t doing these things. He has never known the pressure to give money to keep the machine going, not to the orphans, widows, and he poor. He has never known the long list of stuff that Christ never asked of us, but we do anyway “for Him”. We have so much to learn from this man.
Days later I got another inquire, but this one was different. This person had spent a lifetime in a church building and wanted to know how I felt about standard doctrines. She was very kind and not rude at all, just curious. I thought about her questions regarding end times and other things. It had been so long since I had thought about how I feel that I really don’t know anymore. I know Christ. I know conviction from within. I told her how much I loved Christ and I didn’t really have answers for her because we had spent years exploring Christ and we would continue to explore Him. When we were done, we would get to doctrine. And we’ll never get to the end of Christ and be done with Him.
The completely different responses showed me something. Now that I have a very different view of church, as a family rather than a business model, I know the person with no past as a Christian in the modern institutional church as someone I am super excited to see the Lord, in. There was a time I would have felt like I had to teach this person about the Lord, but there’s so much more he has, having never had the Lord tainted with earthly wisdom, like I had. I love that this person doesn’t care how I feel about politics, doctrine, or anything other than the Lord. Pure Christ. I am stoked!
All of this got me thinking about the upside down pyramid that is Christ’s Kingdom. Sometimes I still get confused and begin striving for something that I think will get me ahead in the world’s eyes. I want people to think well of me. We have folks in our lives who are Christian, but don’t completely understand that we love the Lord and let go of the pagan rituals surrounding Him. I don’t want them to look at me like I’ve joined a cult because I’ve stepped away from a man-made institution. We want to be like the families in the New Testament. We want Christ and community life based around Him. We have found others who are living life in groups and we’ve done it. We’ve done it with people of all walks of life and I saw that Christ is not concerned with what we know or the experience we have in anything other than knowing Him.
The point is, this past week I met a woman who had spent her entire life in the institutional church and yet the man who has never been to a church service was the spiritual giant to me. He was not weighed down by all the extras, He was only concerned with and interested in the Lord and His purposes. Let me end this with my love for the entire church. We are all Brothers and Sisters and we are all a part of the same Body and we are all going to marry the Lord one day. Therefore there’s no need to divide Christ into groups, but if we see something beautiful and organic and purely Christ, who not go for that over the man-made option.
Thanks for reading about my new friends. I am excited to see who else the Lord brings across our path. Have a wonderful week.