“Tell me about the church you go to,” you say. The words hit me with an unexpected jolt; I realize that for the first time in my life, I do not see church as something I go to.
If you’re talking about connecting with other believers, church is so much bigger than a Sunday-morning event I attend to associate with one demographic. Church is something I am part of, every day in myriads of ways.
Church is small group on Thursday evenings, when we meet to eat, talk, and discuss what we are learning about life and God. It’s being brave and learning to pray and share our testimonies with each other.
Church is meeting the random stranger in town and feeling that instant connection of being Christ-followers.
Church is interacting with my many Mennonite friends who are earnestly serving God the best they know how.
Church is corralling our bunch of wiggly children into the benches at UMC of Medicine Lodge to hear Spirit-filled preaching and teaching.
Church is the once-a-month ladies group that sits around a table and asks hard questions. Laughter, tears, courage, and love abound at that table.
Church is connecting with a close Christian friend at a swimming pool while our children splash and shriek.
Church is praying with our mentors in Hutchinson, praying and hearing God speak to us personally and through our mentors.
Church is exchanging emails with our spiritual friends all over the globe and feeling inspired to a deeper walk with God.
Church is moving furniture with friends, then standing in the kitchen and holding hands and praying together even though it’s long past bedtime.
Church is the phone call or text that comes from someone feeling that God has something to say to us, be it correction, encouragement, or questions.
Church is talking with my priest-friend as we sit at my worn kitchen table and dip our chips into little glass bowls of peach salsa.
Church is portrayed in the sweet lady picking up the plate of food I dropped at a community birthday party. She saw my arms were full of children, and came to the rescue.
Church is reading and studying with other Christian homeschool moms. We give each other encouragement to raise children in a Christ-centered home.
Church is walking our children home from the Baptist church two blocks away, and talking about what they learned in Vacation Bible School.
Church is all these things, and more. I don’t experience this life with only a few people. The people are as varied as they could possibly be.
I am part of God’s church, and within that, I am part of His church at Medicine Lodge.
You say, “you can do whatever you want, because you aren’t a member of a specific group.” I reply, I can not do whatever I want. First of all, I am responsible to obey God and His words to me in the Bible. Second, I feel a huge responsibility to the vast body of believers to respect and listen to their input into my life.
Maybe my situation is not ideal. I don’t know, maybe I am in this place because God knew I needed the School of Learning About God’s Church? But how could it be worse than sitting tight with one small group of people and blocking everyone else out as not quite good enough to be part of God’s church? I’m not trying to condemn…I’m just asking, how could it be worse?
I might not have my name on a membership roster, but I am confident that it is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Luke 10:20, Revelation 21:27) And all these believers that I connect with also have their names written in the Book.
God’s family is everywhere, and I am unspeakably blessed to be part of it.
Can you see what I mean when I say that church is not something I go to?
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:4-6 (ESV)
My post To my former church community explains more of my feelings regarding my church situation.