Tuesday, July 02, 2013

DANGER: EXPECTATIONS


As someone who has left the traditional model of church in favor of a more organic, new testament style of ekklesia it’s not often that I find myself sitting in a pew somewhere. Unless I’m on vacation and am expected to attend church with my in-laws. That’s when I try to prepare myself for the worst. I pray that the Lord would help me not to be too critical. I work hard to hold my tongue, and to endure the pastor-centric model without embarrassing myself, or my wife and kids.

So, imagine my surprise when the Sunday School class turned out to be a conversational discussion of the book of Job. Everyone was allowed to speak and to share their insights with one another. Plenty of time was given to allow people to share testimonies and prayer concerns, and then they all began to pray.

During the morning service, different people stood up to sing, or to share concerns, or to pray out loud for each other. Plenty of time was spent in fellowship as people got out of their pews and walked around to talk to brothers and sisters they hadn’t seen for a while. Then the sermon began. After reading from 2 Corinthians, the pastor began to talk about the power of weakness and then took us to the book of Judges where he used Gideon as an example of how God loves to do extraordinary things through ordinary people. I was flabbergasted. Had this guy already read my book, “The Power of Weakness”? Apparently not, but the similarity of our views was astounding to me.

Immediately I felt a strong connection to Joe, their pastor. He wasn’t at all what I expected, nor was this little Baptist church. They seemed to have a genuine sense of community and love for one another. Intrigued, I found myself attending the evening service and a discipleship class that preceded it. Once again I was humbled by what I experienced there. So much so that I attended a Wednesday morning prayer meeting at their Associational office and then again the next Sunday morning and evening.

Certainly, Joe and I are not on the same page on many theological issues, but the one area where we are in complete agreement is that Jesus is Lord and that He is building His church. Before I left we traded email and cell phone numbers. He agreed with me that the Holy Spirit had brought us together during this week and we both felt the need to keep in touch and to encourage one another as brothers in Christ.

My expectations about this church were fantastically wrong, and I remain humbled by the heart of this brother and the quality of faith I observed in this little church.

During my vacation I began to pray for Joe and what God might want to do in this place. The message from the Power of Weakness – about how God loves to do extraordinary things through ordinary people – kept coming back to my heart. I began to sense that this little church, in this tiny little town, might be the catalyst for something incredible in the Kingdom of God. What better place for a revival to begin and sweep through the region than a little church like this one? God would receive all the glory and people would be transformed by the consuming fire of His presence. As long as they keep their eyes on Him and trust in His leadership, there’s no force on this earth that can stop them.

At least, that’s what I’m praying God will do as they continue to seek His face.

-kg

1 comment:

Dean Lusk said...

I can definitely identify! This is the kind of thing that has helped me get over judgmentalism. Or at least get me started. Unfortunately, I sometimes think I have a long way to go.