Friday, August 11, 2006

plymouth church visit

As mentioned in the post below, Saturday night I zipped back from District Conference (in Battle Creek)…stopped at our house in Lansing for a 10 minute bite to eat…and then drove east to meet a friend who wanted me to check out his new church at their Saturday night service.

This is a guy who had his life turned around while living in Lansing. His family started connecting at Faith Church. They made a commitment to a Home Group. They got involved in ministry. They made a decision for Christ and things were going well.

Then they moved for his job in Detroit. They lost any connection with a church. They visited a few places here and there. But, as often happens when disconnected from Christian community, they floundered spiritually.

That is…until he got seriously involved with an amazing church in Plymouth called NorthRidge Church. He said, “I walked through the doors and my heart just leaped. I knew that this was the place where I was supposed to be.” He has since been involved in a number of classes, connected with a group, and is currently evaluating in what area of ministry he should serve (leaning towards children’s ministry).

I COULD tell you all about my experience at NorthRidge. It was a powerful service. I was almost moved to tears. They are doing an excellent job at sharing the message of Christ in a compelling and sincere way.

And I was also interested to see how many thousands of people they could flow through the traffic areas (which were not as large as you would like). At some of the large churches we have visited, they had large expanses of lobby area (where you could see multitudes of people walking around, sipping coffee, chatting in groups and seating areas). At other large churches (like Vineyard Cincy and Northridge), they had multiple entrance points with corridors designed to funnel people in and out of the building. I much preferred the large expansive lobby areas. In those, I believe you had a much greater chance of running into somebody you might know. Whereas, in the large churches with many small entrances and corridors you felt more corralled and were exposed to smaller groups of people in motion.

I COULD tell you much about the great experience at NorthRidge. But that was NOT the main take-away from Saturday night. That evening I arrived home energized and refreshed because I had spent a few hours with a man who is totally passionate about Jesus and in love with God. Faith is truly a contagious thing. It is as much caught as taught. And I thank my Savior for his life-changing power that is demonstrated again and again in those who seek Him with their whole hearts.

If you get down on yourself and lose the joy of the Lord…try doing this. Think of the people you know who are totally sold out and excited about Jesus. Think of the people you know who just seem to exude the fruit of the Spirit (love, peace, patience, faithfulness and all that good stuff). Think of those people…and then make a concerted effort to spend time with them. Get close to them. And before you know it, the contagious love of Jesus will start to creep back into your heart.

It’s a cool thing. And I think it is why God never designed us to live life as a solo venture. It’s the power of community. It’s why there is no such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian. We need each other and we need to be an active part of the community of Christ.

Can you tell how much I can’t wait to get back to Faith Church?!!!