Monday, May 2, 2011
My heart is full right now as I type this. In the past 48 hours, I have been part of three different churches that are close to my heart. All are completely different, but all are serving God's purposes in their own context. What an incredible opportunity it is to be able to experience such diversity during this time of thinking out what we feel like God wants our church plant to be!
On Saturday nights, we attend the Mosaic in Ocean Springs. It is an attractional model church plant that meets in a local skating rink on the weekends. I love the casual atmosphere and the way the pastor presents the Gospel in a clear and contextualized way every single week. The worship services are my style of preference... very contemporary and well done. Their children's program is fantastic.
On Sunday mornings, we attend Ridglea Heights in Escatawpa. We became members there yesterday. We spent our high school and college years as members here, so it is good to be back again. The people are friendly and welcoming, and it has a "family" atmosphere that most churches wish they had. It has a praise band that leads with a mixed blend of music. Abby loves going to play with her cousins while we worship. It's easy to find a place to serve here, and it is harder to just "blend in" and "fade away" (which I think is a good thing). People stay around after the services to chat, and the staff has to run people out when they are ready to go home.
On Sunday nights, we just started our Core Group meetings for the church plant. We have been through a lot together, and suffering together binds people in a way that good times can't. The affection and respect we have for each other as we gather is a beautiful thing, and I pray that those qualities only grow. Gathering to worship with other believers who are "all in" is a unique and humbling experience. How many times in your life do you get to do church with people who are willing to give up everything for Jesus? Last night, we worshiped together, studied the Word together, dreamed together, prayed together, cried together, and laughed together. The joys and fears we share must be a lot like the early church felt as they wondered how the Gospel was about to change their lives and rock their world. We are praying big prayers together, and I am excited about what God will do. Ironically, there were eleven of us who met together last night... exactly the same as the number of disciples that Jesus left in charge to change the world they knew. Sobering, huh?
Keep praying for us. We pray our journey is far from over.