Thinking Out Loud

April 4, 2008

Growing Deep Roots

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — searchlightevents @ 6:01 pm

I am in two minds as I write this.

On the one hand, there are those people who have attended one church their entire life.  They were born Presbyterian and the will die Presbyterian.   Or Baptist.   Or Wesleyan.   Etc.   Even visiting another church (I reserve capitalization for references to the body of Christ as a whole) while they are in another city on vacation is a major step.    If they move, they find a similar church of the same franchise.

On the other hand are those whose church affiliations over the course of their lifespan has been reflective of a larger spiritual journey.   (I’m not referring to what’s called ‘church hopping’ which another phenomenon altogether.)  They have been part of different assemblies, experienced different styles of teaching, and have participated in different modes of worship.   The contribution they’ve made at different stages of the journey has in turn reflected the previous places they’ve attended, resulting in a kind of cross-pollinating.

I’ve always seen myself as the latter kind of Christ follower.   Growing up in Toronto’s Peoples Church — I’ll devote a full post to that sometime — meant sitting under “a plurality of ministries” as different speakers and musicians passed through its platform.   I count significant (and in a couple of cases overlapping) stays at churches that were:  Associated Gospel, Independent, Baptist, United, Charismatic, Brethren, Pentecostal, Congregational, Christian & Missionary Alliance, Baptist (the other brand), Associated Gospel (again), Independent (again) and more recently, Evangelical Missionary (the result of the merger between the Missionary Church of Canada and the Evangelical Free Church with which US readers are more familiar.)

But for the last couple of weeks, I’ve returned to a former church in which I have some history.   My wife was baptized there.   Our children were dedicated there.   I served on staff there for four years.   I’ve wondered at times what it would have been like to have given the entire past 20 years to just that one church.   I certainly set out to; the original goal was to “grow old” there; it just didn’t work out as I had hoped.

History is important.   The thing that best describes my feelings about this church is:  I am invested in their lives and they are invested in mine. Returning, I don’t feel as much as a visitor as someone going to a family reunion.   And the conversations that result are more like picking up a previous discussion that was interrupted.

I am invested in their lives and they are invested in mine. To me this statement describes a dynamic that should be present in a church that is trying to live according to Acts 2.   Sometimes you wanna go [cue the Cheers theme song] to a place where relationships go far beyond the superficial.  (I’m free to go back on Sunday for a third week in a row, and that leaves me confused as to how to respond to place I’ve called home for the past 27 months.  My kids are now independent enough with their church choices that my decision doesn’t affect them.   And the pastor is great.  But… any suggestions?)

History isn’t enough reason to hold someone to a particular house of worship.   One has to follow the heart leadings that take us to spiritual nourishment and opportunities for active service in different places.   But after some time, we should be able to say of that place, I am invested in their lives and they are invested in mine.”

-PW

If this describes your situation, check out the book Finding a Church You Can Call Home.

5 Comments »

  1. […] A few weeks back, I wrote about the idea that in today’s church climate, people migrate from congregation to congregation in search of better teaching, fresh fellowship or new opportunities to serve. I said that staying in a church just because you’ve always attended there, or your ancestors did isn’t good enough. However, there are times when it’s good to go back to the place where you have roots because — and then I used this phrase — “you are invested in their lives and they are invested in yours.” […]

    Pingback by Thinking Out Loud » Blog Archive » Choosing a Church, Part Deux — May 1, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

  2. […] Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: Uncategorized — searchlightevents @ 4:20 pm A few weeks back, I wrote about the idea that in today’s church climate, people migrate from congregation to […]

    Pingback by Choosing a Church, Part Deux « Thinking Out Loud — March 30, 2009 @ 9:45 am

  3. […] Related post:  April 4, 2008 – Growing Deep Roots – Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name… and they’re always glad you came. […]

    Pingback by Unfit to Serve: Issues Raised « Thinking Out Loud — March 20, 2010 @ 10:56 am

  4. […] person defined home: “when you go there they have to take you in.”   (More on that here.)(And […]

    Pingback by Sunday Seriousness « Thinking Out Loud — August 29, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

  5. […] Related post: April 4, 2008 – Growing Deep Roots – Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name… and they’re always glad you came. […]

    Pingback by Churches Can’t Hurt People; People Hurt People « Thinking Out Loud — March 19, 2011 @ 8:31 am


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