My husband and I have been involved in ministry together now for twelve years. Both of us had been raised as "Church-Goers" but for the first time, just this past year; we have both experienced something in Church we had never experienced before. . .the desire to invite others! I know that is a sad statement, but it is the truth. Unfortunntly we had several experiences in ministry that left us feeling battered and bruised; like a woman in an abusive relationship. For anyone out there who may have suffered the same experience I am writing this blog to share some great news with you! Just as I have told battered women that I counciled in the past: "Not all men hit". . .I need you all to know as well. . ."Not all churches hit". (My blogs are full of bold statements so don't at shocked.)
(I want to make it clear to any reader that not every church we have been part of in the past left injury. . .so please don't hold a specific place in mind if you know us personally. BUT due to painful experiences we really had no desire to invite others to our services "just in case".)
This past year that changed for us. We found a church that holds strongly to the sacredness of worship, the liturgy of the Word, the holiness of Gods Law, and the beauty of Gods Grace! We have found a place that knows how to disagree and still walk in love with one another. Our physical family has times when we rub each other the wrong way, get on nerves, and don't see eye to eye. . .but we love each other! Shouldn't the Church family operate in the same way? Ours does! The first time I saw a disagreement between a member and clergy I thought for sure one of them was history. . . no such thing. A member of fifty plus years knew the art of disagreement and the minister knew it was okay if someone did not share his doctrinal opinion. They were still "family" when the conversation ended. I have also experienced a genuine love and "help" from church members. Our middle son is suffering some health issues (inherited scoliosis). We were immediatly covered in hugs, prayers, cards and inquirys (some from members we had never met). We have not been left to fight this battle alone.
Another beautiful thing we have experience is good old fashion church fellowship: The Church Bazaar; Hanging of the Greens; Family Movie Nights; Wesley Hoe-Down; etc, etc, etc. (I thought the only church that held a Bazaar was the church from the movie Pollyanna!) This may seem like a silly small thing but it helps feel like a close knit community.
I am so concerned with the amount of christian's who have disconnected from church due to past hurts. . .having felt the same way. . .I don't blame them! But I am here to tell all of you there is hope. NOT ALL CHURCHES HIT! If you live near the Canyon or Amarillo area I personally invite you to visit mine. http://www.firstchurchcanyon.com/ If not, please don't give up! Your children need to be a part of a community of believers; they face a harsh world and so do you. Keep searching until you find what we have found at First Methodist Canyon. God will lead you, just ask Him!