“People who want community on their own terms don’t want to be in community; they want to be worshipped” – Jared Wilson
Powerful words, don’t you agree? These words made me have a serious think about how I think about involving others in my life. Do I think about what I will get? Or what burden it puts on me before I embrace and ‘do’ community with my people, my family, my church? Do I worry what people will think of my house, my food, my kids? If I do then I’m very much making it all about me.
I love community and I have for the majority of this blog included an amazing piece from Sarah Bessey that describes down to the finest detail why I go to church. Sarah I feel here has articulated in a much better way my experience of my church, my people. That is why I don’t want to say very much and let her blog do the talking.
My own experience of community and going to church as a new Christian was modelled over and over again when I joined our current church 15 years ago. I was invited and fed, I was loved and accepted. I was an interesting character, I had a colourful past but people took time to get to know me over a meal around their kitchen table; I took time to get to know them and their kids. Some of those ‘kids’ are now close friends of ours and getting to know and spend time with our kids in exactly the same way. This is what you do. These people I met 15 years ago are still a huge part of our lives. I have walked many a path of celebration and of devastation and people have done the same for us. Many a tear and much rejoicing have been done over a cup of tea in our home, with the toys scattered over the floor and the kids running around. We go on holidays together with our kids and embrace the excitement, the frustration and the joy of organising what we will all do that week and try to please everyone – not easy! We don’t do ‘church’, we do ‘life’!
Church is not a club you join or an organisation you become part of. It’s a family you belong to. It’s a place where you don’t walk away easily because you don’t agree, or because it doesn’t suit anymore. It’s a place where you can be vulnerable, a place where you get your hands dirty and help anyone and everyone who is in need, a place where you can love and be loved. Church is a place where you invite people to sit around your kitchen table have a pasta bake and who you get to know and accept. Church is a place when you invite people round they come in their slippers because they know you are going to be in yours. My best friends have come from my church family, not because we had lots in common to begin with but we just did plain old life (with all its crap) together and the rest followed.
If you make it all about having your preferences met, hanging back when it all gets a bit awkward (which of course it can), and only jumping in when it ‘suits’ – that’s not community. Our community is based on a ‘common unity’ around Jesus, not around music tastes, our level of education, skin colour, gender or even our age. Church is a camaraderie of misfits – or at least it should be.
These are my people, this is my family, and this is indeed my church.
Enjoy the blog (and the photos) – Here is the link to ‘ In which I think community is worth the intention :or why I still go to church’
Here are really only a few photos I have taken over these last few years. Need to use my camera way more in these moments – I love having the memories!