Now, I want to turn to "my" church, specifically. When I say "my", I don't mean the church is mine. I mean it is the church that I claim as home for my family. These people are "my" family. It doesn't mean that we all look or act alike. It doesn't mean that we always agree. It does mean that we love and care for each other... We can get angry with each other or frustrated with each other but the love is no less.... Sounds like a real family, doesn't it?
First of all, we are church plant, a very young church with only about 60 people attending at any one time. It is a good mix of kids, teens, young people and older people. Our pastor is young, married and has children.
If you would attend, you would see a very simple, basic church service. We don't have a polished praise team, we don't have a modern, hip feel to our service. We have a few attendees of the church up front singing. They aren't always the same people. Sometimes, people from outside our church come and lead us in praise. You never know what to expect in terms of a praise team. Sometimes, our children will lead us in praise. That leads me to my first point...
1) I like "my" church because everyone is expected to be a part of the praise time. Sometimes, you are expected to be a participant, sometimes you are expected to be a leader. Even children as young as three have lead us in praise.
2) I like "my" church because everyone is expected to be a part of the worship time. You will see children praying with older people from the church. Yes, I said that in the correct order. Children will pray with adults. Children will pray for adults. That leads me to point three...
3) I like "my" church because everyone is considered to be a part of the church ministry. Children are the church. Teens are the church. Adults are the church. We don't have people wait until they get everything correct and polished: their theology, their attitude, their words, etc. If someone wants to do something, they do it. However, they just don't do it, they also have a church family that encourages and teaches while they are doing what they do...
4) Our leader, of course, is Jesus Christ. He is the cornerstone of our church, the very foundation. However, our Pastor, as he follows Jesus, teaches us God's Word from a humble stance. I like "my" church because it's refreshing to have a pastor say, during a sermon, "I'm glad to be a part of a church that is as messed up as I am!" (And his sermons are terrific, BTW.)
5) I like "my" church because sometimes, you may not know who the "leaders" are in the church. Leadership in our church requires humility. Since we are a church plant and rent a facility, you will see leaders in all aspects of the church and not realize that they are leaders. They will set up the sound system, work in the nursery, set up and remove chairs, bring muffins to share, care for children, collect the offering, etc. A leader in the church will do whatever it takes to help the church function.
6) I like "my" church because sometimes, we don't get to the sermon or to the sermon our pastor had planned. It is not uncommon for God's Holy Spirit to change what is planned. There may be spontaneous testimony. There may be spontaneous spoken prayer. There may be a child saying, "amen!" or someone may even stop the sermon and ask a question about what the pastor just said or what someone else just spoke about.
7) Finally, I like "my" church because we believe in healing. We believe that God cares about us emotionally, physically as well as spiritually. We have had spontaneous prayers of healing and have seen the results within just a few hours. Physical pain has been eliminated or lessened, emotional pain has been relieved, and spiritual growth has resulted.
Ok, one more finally.... Sometimes, our church will be nothing special. Nothing terribly exciting happens from our human perspective. Things go as planned, nothing spontaneous occurs. And that's ok too. That's another thing I like about "my" church. There is not a pressure to repeat past experiences, there is not a pressure to make something happen. It's just simply God's family getting together to remember what God has done, praise Him for what He will do and also to wait expectantly for God to do more.
Because, we have a long way to go... God's not done with us yet.
BE A MAN.