It’s kind of weird not having a home church. I mean, I love where I am because, for the most part, it’s just God and me. But thinking back to where I was six months ago or even this time last year, I had a home church – a fellowship that felt like family. We sang together, prayed together, ate food together, and even played some flag football on Super Bowl Sunday. I miss it. I really do.
But that’s not what hit me tonight on my way to the grocery store. At my new apartment, we didn’t yet have a cutting board and not too many chef knives, so I went to Safeway to get them. As soon as I got in the car and started driving, though, I felt compelled to pray for a home church. For the past two Wednesday nights, I had gone to First Baptist Church way out on Coburg Road. Tonight, however, I needed alone with God.
“I just don’t know if I can call any church home right now,” I confessed.
The two churches I’ve attended since Danny’s last sermon are great churches; the people are awesome, loving, and energetic. But as of right now, I don’t feel like either can be considered “home.” Going to Calvary every Sunday morning was great because I knew the people and they knew me. And, this might sound kind of lame, but I had a lot more theological conversations there.
I’ve written many posts about my interests in theology, but in case you don’t know, I like talking about God’s nature. I like comparing the Gospels side by side to see if they really were describing the same theological background or if they perhaps saw things a little differently. I like digging a little deeper into the Jewish mindset of Jesus’ day just to grasp how profound and yet simple His teachings were. And I like being able to think that God is bigger than man-made doctrines and systematic theologies.
“God, if I can find a body of believers – even if it’s just two other people – who has similar views and interests, that’d be great,” I prayed.
I asked Him this because I find the Bible to be the most fascinating book I’ve ever picked up. Books on systematic theology don’t quite cut it. Sure, they sometimes give me something to look at as I’m reading through Scripture, but oftentimes they’re an annoying set of goggles that I feel pressured to look through. In high school, I avoided peer pressure because I knew the consequences. I’m the exact same way when it comes to theology.
Neither of the churches I’ve attended gave me that vibe – not the pastors, not the worship leaders, and not the average church-goers. That’s not why I’m writing tonight. I’m writing because I know what I want in my walk with God: A strong, genuine faith in Him and His sovereignty. This is no new thing, but I think faith in God is better than faith in human systems and what the majority is saying about Him. I think God wants us to come to Him crying, “Abba, Father!” instead of clinging to our neat lists of beliefs.
I don’t want to attack anyone else’s faith: If you believe Scripture’s flawless to the “T,” fine. But the moment someone says I have to believe the same thing in order to truly follow God, I’m going resist – because that part isn’t in the Bible. Being “like minded” meant focusing on the one, unifying aspect of the church: Jesus Christ. Pastor Ben Cross of First B. gave a wonderful message on unity a couple weeks back. He said that true unity doesn’t come from conformity, but rather diversity. It’s the practice of allowing Christ to work in our hearts so much so that we acknowledge them and overcome them to be together, to serve together, to love together – that’s what makes the church beautiful in God’s eyes.
In all honesty, I don’t think church-shopping is a difficult process. It might seem like it because there are so many different ones, but when it gets right down to it, it’s like buying a loaf of bread. Some taste different, some smell different, some have weird packaging labels, and some might even look weird, but once you’ve eaten, it’ll give you the nourishment you need. Likewise, if God’s Spirit is present, church shopping simply becomes a matter of just picking one and going with it. If God’s yeast is there, you’ll grow.
And one major sign of the Spirit’s presence is a church’s ability to unify from and through diversity.