Doug and I visited a new church over the weekend. It was amazing! The kids programs were incredible...each room was more outstanding than the last. Each person that greeted us was friendly, knew their job and they seemed so organized. Once we had settled all of the little ones, we stepped into an auditorium that was nothing less than a dream come true for a wanna be Christian music artist and worship planner. Huge stage, three screens with motion back grounds, lights, cameras, big sound and very talented musicians. It was truly overwhelming!
It was so hard not to sit there and envy what was around me. And I must confess I found myself thinking about what it would be like to be a part of this amazing production. And it wasn't too hard to take the next leap and wonder what was keeping us at our present church. At that moment in time, I confess, it did not feel as if there was much to tie us down to New Life.
I have been asking myself "why do I feel like we need to be so loyal to NL?" There is much there that I would really like to just walk away from right now. Much work, much frustration, much stuff. Why couldn't we just stop here and go there? People do it...why couldn't we? What is keeping us here? What is tying us down? Couldn't I find a place at this new church to be active and use my gifts?
I believe God designed the church to be more than a worship experience, more than a place to use your gifts, more than a Sunday morning service, more than 'the fields are ripe for harvest.' I believe God designed the church to be a family. And if you are blessed, you will find more than friends at church...you will find family.
Now, it is 3am...so bear with me if I get weepy or ramble. Today I was playing bean bags in my backyard at our 4th of July party and I had my loyalty question answered in one picture. I looked up at our patio and saw our 'family' eating together, drinking together, laughing together and my answer was given. I am loyal to NL because that is where God has blessed Doug and I with friends who are our family.
We have been married for 12 years and have always talked about wanting to make friends...the kind of friends that you can be yourself around, laugh till your sides hurt, call up on a Friday evening and ask over for pizza. Friends that do not require walls or masks; the kind of friends that just fit and are comfortable and are safe and the kind of friends that care about your kids and your family as much as you care about theirs.
We have those kinds of friends because we go to NL. We have a family at NL that is worth more than any big sound and light board, fancy cameras or talented musicians. We have this family that is worth the fight...worth the frustrations...worth the time it takes to make things right. Because even if we walked away from NL and all the stuff that is going on and went to this new church and replaced NL stuff with new stuff we are unaware of...we could never replace our family.
And so by God's design, I believe, we will stick it out...because we have a full life that is full of friends. And really, who could ask for more?