My personal recovery has many components, and my relationship with God is a big one.
I have only considered myself “spiritual”, and connected with God on some level for around 8 years now.
Somewhere along my journey I decided that going to church each week is what was best for me as an individual and I truly felt it was the best thing for my kids.
We have had a tough time finding a church that fits us.
Some were too big, some way to small, some felt too cold and modern for our taste and others were stuck somewhere back “in the 1900’s”, as my kids would say.
The one’s that didn’t fit were ‘bad’ they simply didn’t fit well enough for us to give it a go.
And just to be clear, I am not bashing any church.
I’m not a huge fan of bashing things that I don’t necessarily agree with or ‘like’-
maybe with the exception Westboro.
Anyway, the church that we ultimately ended up calling ‘the one’ isn’t perfect.
But that’s why I am sharing this.
I love it because it is real.
It is a place where you can be authentic and messy, and —you.
Here are the top 3 reasons that I truly appreciate the church that we go to:
1.) Our pastor regularly talks about, touches on, or mentions, real life issues.
So we fill the nicely lined chairs on Sunday mornings.
We all sit there in anticipation.
We wait to start singing. We are waiting to hear more about Jesus, and we want to know how this can help us in our day-to-day lives.
And you know, I can guarantee that every person sitting there is trying desperately to focus solely on the sermon, shutting everything else off for that hour.
We are pushing all of the other ‘stuff’ away; all of the heavy loads of crap that we carry, all the random problems, the more serious issues, the physical pain, the emotional instability, the financial uncertainties, we do our best to push it all aside, and just be, for that hour.
Every single sermon I have heard preached in our church has a sliver of light fixed on issues that are effecting the real people who are fill the chairs sitting out in front of the stage.
There are words and phrases used that we all get, that we all understand.
Things like addictions, clinical depression, hopelessness, jealousy, perfection-seeking, self-defeat, sadness, worry, stress, brokenness.
While the core of all of the messages center on the hope that we find through God’s word and the life, and works of Jesus- there is also another message being delivered.
*There is no shame in coming to church on Sunday – especially if your life isn’t perfect. You have nothing to be ashamed of, our church isn’t an exclusive club- it’s a hospital for broken people.
To me this sends an even bigger message to the church body.
The pastor doesn’t consider himself any different from us.
And that’s pretty damned refreshing.
2.) The pastor + team are authentic.
Not sure I need to elaborate further on this one.
I appreciate real people. Other people like real too.
Everyone can feel & appreciate real transparency and authenticity.
It’s nice to see that even people who are gifted and called to ministry are also still imperfect human beings.
No front, no holier than thou-ish stuff.
Just a worship team that loves to rock out.
A women’s ministry that actually, really, get this: loves and encourages other women.
A men’s ministry that actually talks about real life issues men face.
Children’s ministry that is completely focused on loving on the little people.
Just real people, doing real life, with other real life people.
3.) I am still waiting to hear a prosperity focused message.
It isn’t boring snooze fest, but it also isn’t simply just a show put on to entertain and desperately keep us coming back.
There are always legit narratives used that compliment a biblically based sermon, but we don’t have to hear political crap, or watered down prosperity bull that consistently fills my love of self tank.
I am not sure I have ever left without at least laughing once or twice, but I have almost never left feeling like I was probably, maybe about to win the lottery so that I could go and buy that unicorn and the black on black Range Rover that I deserve.
Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with purchasing unicorns or nice cars, because there isn’t.
And there also isn’t anything wrong with instilling hope in people.
But the messages of hope that I prefer to hear are based off of things God did and Jesus actually said. I pretty much dig that.
So if you happen to be looking around for a church to call home, I am sure that you can find one that fits your family too.