I go to a fantastic church. The preaching is solid gospel, the music is meaningful and soulful, and the fellowship is life-giving. I know, without a doubt, that I will leave every Sunday morning meeting feeling convicted and challenged to submit more of myself to Christ's authority and to live a life more pleasing to Him. I don't know that this is the case at many churches in this country, as many are more focused on church growth and making people feel good about themselves than they are about teaching any real gospel truth. I have been blessed to have attended a solid church full of loving community in my hometown of Gig Harbor. I am thankful that my sister and brother have had solid churches throughout college and graduate school.
And I have Redemption Hill.
One of the best things about my church is that every Sunday morning one of our three pastors reminds us that Sunday morning is not 'church'. 'Church' is the people in the body, living in Christ centered community, meeting each other's daily needs, and challenging each other to more and more holy lives. Sunday morning, is just one of the gatherings of our church body.
One of the other primary ways we gather is in community groups. These meet in various homes, at various times during the week. Everyone is encouraged to be a member of a community. This is where we dig in even deeper to the sermon messages, and the sin in our daily lives. Accountability is a key element, and honesty about sin. My group meets on Sunday evenings and I just love it. I know that I will be both challenged and encouraged by my fellow 'body' members.
Another wonderful aspect of our community is the eating. We meet, greet and eat once a month as a community. This month, we are making Indian food and I can't wait. Its so wonderful to gather around the table and fellowship. It is so great to eat together and remind ourselves that we require an outside force to sustain us (as we require food to sustain us), and that is of course God.
One morning a week, some of the women from our community group meet to pray, which is another excellent time of truth, repentance and prayer together. I also meet one evening a week for a 'one-on-one' with one of those women, Amanda, to delve into our sin and God's grace even more deeply.
I love my church. I love my community. I love my women's prayer group, and my one-on-one. And I love that each directs my view again toward our Heavenly Father and away from the things that tangle and ensnare so many of us daily.
May you find life-giving community as well.