Do you keep a journal? Maybe a prayer journal?
Have you ever read through an entry that was written years back and felt your heart nearly leap from your chest because as you sit in stunned amazement you come to realize that God did everything and more than you asked for there in writing?
I’ve just had such a moment reading through this old entry from 2007:
Twice in the 12+ years I’ve known the Lord I have felt completely and totally ensconced in a church. I have been: involved, encouraged, taught, stretched, plugged-in, an-integral-part-of, needed, and thrilled to be there. Only twice.
In the first church, I enjoyed this for two years and in the second, three years. And when I say “the first” I mean it literally but “the second” is said only figuratively. There were many churches and many years in between those two experiences. So many that I began to think that my very first church experience of feeling truly a part of a family was quite the anomaly. I wished we had never moved out of state and longed to be a part of this first church again. When I finally “belonged” once again I purposed never to leave this church. I purposed; my sovereign God had other plans.
Currently we attend a very nice church along with a very nice body of believers in a very nice, brand new building. Each Sunday we sit in very nice chairs listening to a very nice sermon. It’s all very nice. Really. Nice.
And I want so much more than nice.
I want passion and belonging; I want accountability, conviction, and tears. I want to gasp and hold my breath, without even realizing it, as I hear the Holy Spirit speak through the words of the pastor. I want a sermon that makes me hang my head and silently weep for forgiveness. And then just as it so often happens when I read the Psalms, I want that same sermon to point me to the God who loves faithfully so I am lifted from my pit of despair, buoyed by His grace. I want to be needed in this fantasy church but not in the nursery or children’s ministry where they send all the newest volunteers. Haven’t I paid those dues? I want to be used in a ministry that reaches outside of the church to love the unlovely and to care for those who can’t care for themselves.
I’m tired of church ministries that only care for their own.
I’m tired of nice. I want more.
And I want to find a church that is filled with believers who feel the same.
And here I sit, just 4 years later, in that very group of believers that I described. One year ago we began attending a brand new church plant without realizing that it would be the answer to our prayers. You can even read here how unlikely I felt it was that this church would be the perfect fit for us. But oh how it is. Perfect for us that is.
We love ONEchapel. We love the Pastor, Ross Parsley and his wife Aimee. We love all of our church family members and how they love us and others. They are passionate about Christ and bringing others into relationship with Him.
We are once again ensconced in a church family and we are thrilled.
I do feel bad about one thing I wrote in the post above though and that is concerning the children’s ministry. I certainly didn’t mean to sound like I don’t like children. I’ve had three and still love them after all these years.
It is just not my calling and yet I’ve always been placed there. It happens in some churches.
I’ve seen how this ministry is supposed to work though here at ONEchapel. I’ve seen the passion and love that exude from those who feel called to serve in children’s ministry. Our children deserve no less.