The big church

I’ve spent most of my life in a small church.  But, more recently I’ve been going to a big church across town from the small church I grew up in.  And today when my mom asked me how church was this morning, I could only say, “I think I’ve found my people.”

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Before I started going to the big church, people in the small church only said of it, “That’s a good place to hide.”  And yet, for years I have felt a pull to this big church with lots of ministries and lots of people who love God.  It felt subversive somehow when I would listen to the big church’s sermon podcasts every week, taking notes in my journal and tweeting Bible verses and things the pastor had said.

When I found myself without a church at the end of last year, I knew that I would go to the big church to hear their pastor in person.   I knew I would sit and be taught well.  And I knew that in this season of feeling so hurt and so weary that sitting and being taught well was going to be something that healed me.  I did not know that that part of what would bring healing would also be finding my people.

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“My people” are broken and admit it.  They know that they only way to not be stuck in the brokenness is to encounter Christ.  They aren’t aiming at perfection or looking like they’ve got it together.  They are aiming at surrender, and are humbled by and to Jesus so much that living authentically with our human struggles and asking for help isn’t so scary.

“My people” are storytellers, who share themselves and their stories with vulnerability. They know that God is the Author of our lives, and they are grateful to be a part of the epic narrative He’s writing.  And they live so that the Author is known.

“My people” have spiky hair and tattoos and studs in their ears.  They wear flannel shirts and cardigans and big, black glasses.  They wear suits and jeans and heels and sneakers. They are accountants and engineers and teachers and doctors and policemen and plumbers and stay-at-home moms and writers and a thousand other things.  They take communion together every week. They ride motorcycles and drive minivans. They sing hymns and praise choruses, and they sing them loudly off pitch and in tune.

And they pray.

And they love Jesus.

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Today at the big church I watched as the little blonde haired girl wearing a fuzzy pink hoodie two rows in front of me caught her dad’s eye beside her during the last song. He winked at her and she smiled at him, and together they sang, “The cross before me, the world behind me, no turning back.”

And this is the kind of the thing that’s happening at the big church and in the Church.

Not hiding. Dads and daughters are learning to follow Jesus together.  Moms and sons are opening their Bibles together.  Friends are taking communion together.  And everyone is praying Luke 22:42:

“Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours, be done.”

And this is my kind of church. And these are my kind of people.

And this is the Church. And these are my people.

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4 thoughts on “The big church

  1. I found a lot of healing in a big church. It wasn’t a place I ever expected to go, but it was exactly what I needed. I’m back at a smaller church now, but I am so grateful for my years at the mega church.

    It’s easy to make judgments about various congregations based on their size, rather than on the people contained within. The more different churches I attend, the more I see how broken they all are, but also how beautiful they all are.

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