Friday, March 04, 2005

i love my church

"Christian Dropouts–Some believers have quit church to practice their faith alone. Is this a healthy trend?" questions the February 2005 cover of Charisma Magazine.

The articles in Charisma, as well as this recent blog post on Nick Queen’s series "Out of the Wilderness" - Series 2, his interview with the blog 'Mommy Life'

Q [5.] to Mommy Life: "What denomination do you consider yourself? "

A: "...we haven’t been hampered by loyalty to a particular church or denomination. And I don’t make apologies for "church hopping." We go where the Spirit leads us. I also thing that writers have a broader view than the general church population..."

got me thinking along the lines of how do I feel about my church and what’s the point of the local church anyway.

I’ll say right off, I don't share this blogger's feelings!

I’ve been part of three denominations in my life, and would not consider my association with any of them ‘hampering.’

I grew up in the Mennonite Brethren church. There as a youngster I got saved, was nurtured by a church family, had access to a church library, was water baptized at 14, attended their denominational Bible School after high school, and got a grounding in theology.

As an adult and then through most of our growing-up years as a family, we were part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination. They grew in us a keen consciousness of and an appreciation for missions. As well we learned the value of Bible study and the importance of a life of intimacy with God.

Most lately we’ve joined a church which is aligned with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. This latest step has been the continuation of our spiritual pilgrimage–on which we’ve had a sense of God gently moving us from one place to another. To make this step, though, we didn’t church-hop (though I am not denigrating church-hopping with a view to finding the right church and settling into it). We came to Christian Life Assembly in Langley first by attending their Sunday night Fire and Freedom services when our own church didn’t have anything going Sunday nights. We fell in love with the worship, the warmth of the people, but mostly the sense of God’s presence there. When we felt it was time to move on, there was no question in our minds about where we would go.

Being part of a local church is hugely important to me. Here are some reasons:

1. Corporate worship. There’s nothing like lifting my voice in praise to God with hundreds of others.

2. My life needs that weekly plumbline adjustment I get from the pastor’s sermon.

3. The church gives me a context in which I can discover and use my spiritual gifts.

4. The church is the storehouse to which I can bring my tithe.

5. The church is where I am equipped to minister.

6. The church gives me a place to go when I am in need–of prayer, or moral and spiritual support, or even in physical need.

7. The church is a place where I can find fellow-travellers who will keep me accountable.

8. The church gives me a venue through which I can impact the world. There is nothing like a month of missions’ emphasis to get one in touch with, and enthusiastic about, what can be accomplished if we pool our resources and work at this together.

The local church is God’s idea: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews

And speaking of "the Day approaching..." some days in church feel like what one imagines heaven will be like after judgement day ("After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb." Revelation 7:9).

Last Sunday’s flag parade to celebrate the start of missions month was one of those foreshadowing-of-heaven days for me (‘fast’ connection needed for this. Fast-forward ‘seek’ bar to 4:30 to bypass first worship song).


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