Not Your Mama’s Church

If you want a fresh perspective on “church”, read Jen Hatmaker’s book, Interrupted.  You won’t be sorry.

Last Thursday Mama and I took a drive to Hennessey, OK to Prairie Quilt to pick up some fabric for my first quilt that Mama is teaching me how to make.  When she started she was just going to make one quilt.  I think she’s made a bazillion.  Quilting must be addictive.  I could be in trouble.  

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My favorite thing about learning to quilt is the time I spend with my Mama.

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I’m so slow…

On the way back Mama told me that Troy my hubster was the first person my daddy led to Jesus. Good  move Daddy!  Thank you! I owe you forever!  Mama told me she remembers the first person she led to Jesus.  She was about 7 years old.  She had an audience of one her neighborhood friend and preached a scary convicting message on the dangers of Hell.

Her message consisted of what stuck with her from the sermons she’d heard preached during her 7 young years of church-going.  She shared her knowledge with her friend.

Barely old enough to make her own PB&J sandwich, Mama preached…

If you wear pants you’ll go to Hell!

If you play cards you’ll go to Hell!

If you roll dice you’ll go to Hell!

If you go to movies you’ll go to Hell!

Can I get an amen?!  She didn’t say she said that but I’m sure it was in there somewhere.

Mama said, “When I gave the altar call my friend accepted Jesus.  But, of course, she did.  She didn’t want to go to Hell. I didn’t tell her any “dos” I only told her the “don’ts”.  That’s all I knew.”

When my brothers and I were growing up we had a list of “don’ts” but we had a longer list of “dos”.  My parents saw the importance of stressing serving God more than avoiding Hell.  Tip: if you live to serve God… the Hell thing will be taken care of.  

Jen Hatmaker may have grown up with some of the same lists we did.  If you were raised in church you have this idea of how church is supposed to work.  You keep the lists.

But, like Jen, I see church in a completely different way than I use to.  Church isn’t lists.  It isn’t dos and don’ts.  Church is people.

In her book, Interrupted, Jen writes, “Church is not a place you go – it’s people you belong with.  The building is simply the place where you celebrate God together.”

Church is more than going to a building with people who believe like you do.  Church is also fostering a relationship with someone who doesn’t believe Jesus like you do so they will see Jesus in you and one day experience the love of Jesus like you do.  However long that takes.

Church is also outside the “sanctuary”.

Church is at the dinner table.

Church is at the coffeeshop.

Church is on a road trip.

Church is at the park.

Church is in the hospital.

Church is around a quilting table.

You name it.  You can have church anywhere.  Anytime.  Because people are everywhere and people make up the church.

Sometimes those of us who are…. shall we say…. churchy…. can limit church to Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night with an optional Monday night Bible Study where we get together with all our friends who are churchy too.

But what about the unchurchy?  What about the man, woman or child who is not going to darken the church door?  For whatever reason.  And there are many.  What about them?  If we don’t change from just “going to church” and start “being the church” how are they going to know Jesus who can change their lives?  They may never come to us.  I guess that means we must go to them.  Wherever they are.

I see God changing what we think church is.  I see Him broadening our scope of how church works.  Why confine God to only the four walls of the First Church building?  There are so many people outside it. Let’s get outside and find them and love them.  They’re not hard to find.  Just let love lead the way.  Then just watch…. you might be surprise where love leads them.

 

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