Been a while I know. I'm not one to just blog when I don't have much to say. Not to mention I've had enough going on to just not think about it at all over the past month or so. We have completed 9 weeks of service at Woodlands Point and I can honestly say that I have loved every minute of every service I've been a part of.
I've been learning a lot about myself and about people involved in a church start up, and I've come to the conclusion that there are a multitude of learning curves that we as a church go through throughout the process of beginning on this kind of journey together.
First, there's the whole leadership aspect. Not talking about just the pastor specifically but all of us together. I've seen people step up to volunteer and help out in any way possible. Seen decisive action and people following through on what they say they will do that I never would have pictured being that type of person. People giving up full time salaries and their own comfort and security to pour into the lives of the people in our community. Some of the most notable learning goes on corporately as a body though I believe, which brings us to the second learning curve aspect. Our Worship. I think this has a lot to do with the culture we have become accustomed to as a part of the church in America, we've been trained to sit back and enjoy the show like we are watching a movie in a comfy chair at our favorite theater. The problem with that is that the corporate gathering of the church was never meant to be that. We were created to come together as part of a community to worship Christ and to celebrate what the Lord has been doing in our lives throughout the week. This in mind, we as a community at Woodlands Point have started the art of growing together in our worship of Christ and in the application of the word in our lives. It takes time. All of us are learning together that God is worthy of our outward expression of his glory in our lives. This seems to especially play itself out in our time of corporate worship (singing). Due to our cultural education we have become spectators for the most part during the "singing time" of our gatherings. Once again, this as well was never intended to be the case. The bible is VERY deliberate in it's description of outward congregational worship. We are to sing, shout, lift our hands, be silent, bow to our knees, cry, laugh, applaud, and generally speaking loose ourselves in the presence of the Lord. When we make up our mind to quit worrying about how long we've been standing up or that the gentleman behind us couldn't carry a note in a bucket even if we glued it in there for him. If we can take on the mindset that Christ our Savior is worthy of our fullest effort to worship him, the dynamic of that aspect multiplied by each person engaged in worship is so beautiful! The energy and excitement that accompanies our worship at that point just helps to spur us on in an exciting life that Christ offers us. I love that our community is embracing this and becoming a passionate, loud singing, don't care who's around worshiping church!
So what's the next learning curve? It's another big one. Even though it may not be as obvious the learning curve of education in the church is MASSIVE! Thanks again in part to our watch and critique mindset and of course our just general red blooded American laziness, we have decided that our advancement and knowledge of the word of God (the Bible) is no longer a necessity for living out a christian life. (insert expletive of your choice here to describe how incredibly incorrect this is). Watching this learning curve take place is really interesting. The fact that people are being encouraged to read and study the bible and to be equipped in their knowledge of who Christ is and how that applies to our lives as we live on mission for him is really taking some people by surprise I think. Christianity to most people has become something you drive thru for like your favorite burger and fries......."Jesus in a box would you like to try our Jesus makes everything wonderful value meal?" We pay for our Jesus and we go home never having had a face to face encounter with the manifest glory of God in our life and never having faced and dealt witht the sin and crap in our lives that was keeping us from him in the first place. I love the dynamic of this learning curve because people are beginning to latch onto it and to hunger for the word of God and by studying the word of God gain new revelation of how incredible he is which in turn feeds our longing to express worship and to live out the mission God has for us.
To say the least I love my community and I love serving Christ shoulder to shoulder with them on a daily basis. Every weekend I look forward to watching these learning curves play themselves out in a variety of ways and knowing that through it all we are growing closer to our savior and more excited about living on mission for him together.