Well, it's been awhile since I've posted...not TOO long...and I just thought I'd post some thoughts I had today.
Paul and I went to a "fellowship group" with the church we've visited a few times. I'm still not completely convinced its 'our' church, but we thought we had to at least go visit some groups and do more than just the Sunday morning experience.
The small group was two other couples...doesn't get much smaller than that. I was a bit surprised because the church is at around 700 people. We purposefully chose a small group that wasn't run by 20-somethings, because we aren't 20-somethings. These 40-something have clearly been together for some time. They know each other. They are friends. It didn't feel like such a great fit, but they were extremely open and inviting.
During the prayer request I shared our request for prayer about the church we are seeking and they asked point blank what it is we are looking for. I looked to Paul and while he searched for his answer I immediately blurted out: "We're looking for a church that lives the mission and vision statement it prints!"
That's when it dawned on me...we've been a part of churches and visited churches that have these incredible and sometimes elaborate mission and vision statements and a 5-fold purpose statement...but they don't necessarily live that out. Sometimes it's due to the evolution of a new or start-up church and sometimes it's timing and it's just too early to see...but sometimes it's clear...the mission and vision are in word only.
I HAVE to be a part of a church with a purpose, a church that truly reaches out...a church that above all...LOVES (like an action verb)! I NEED to be a part of a church that also includes an awesome worship experience (open to interpretation), and has respect and opportunities for ALL God's people to serve. I NEED to be a part of a church of diversity. I NEED to be a part of a church that serves.
Not so long ago I asked my husband what he thought it would be like to be a part of a church full of all the people that had left (or were asked to Leave) other churches...he just looked at me and said he wondered what it would be like to be a part of a church with 100% of the members serving in some capacity, instead of the statistically measured 10-20% of the congregants serving.
And so...we continue in our search and I feel a bit more empty each day. Some days I wonder if it really matters...and my heart says YES and my flesh just shakes its head and so far...I continue to find some reason to stay in the search.
On a more upbeat note...I see how God is using me in the lives of those staff that I supervise. Not a day goes by when one of them doesn't come to me for personal advise or even a prayer request...and so I know God can and IS using me whether I am firmly planted in a church-body or not...and that alone...right now...is enough...