Yesterday I asked, “Will you join me on the journey?” I’m sure that question may have left some friends cringing since I didn’t tell you where I was going on the journey. The fact is, I never really know until I take the first step by faith. Isn’t this how walking with the Lord works? He told Abraham to go and Abraham didn’t know where the destination would be, but he knew God would be with him. You see, I took a first step about a month ago and then I hesitated. I wasn’t sure I could walk the path to this new adventure. It meant re-entering a playing field where I had been deeply wounded before. There are playing fields and battle fields, both of which require strategy, endurance, strength, hard work and most importantly, experience. Only this time I wasn’t entering the field as a solider, a player if you will. I was entering as a captain.
Romans 5: 1“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” KJV
You see, my friends who embrace the structure of organized Christianity may be happy that I am stepping into their communities again, while others might second guess me, doubt me, and even belittle me as if I’m walking back into brainwashing. I refuse to be brainwashed, so lets just make that very clear. I have spent several years studying what real brainwashing and conditioning is and I m not going to get suckered in again. Yes, I’m confident of that. Twisted scriptures is the least of my worries, in fact I’m not worried about it at all. I’m not venturing back into church circles for the doctrines, I’m walking into it for a divine purpose. Some ask if I’m a practicing Christian, meaning do I go to a traditional church and do all the things those traditions tell us. I believe there is something far more important than practicing tradition. I believe in practicing grace and not every church out there is out to brainwash people. If we were parched for grace when we left then we should have learned how much we need to extend grace to them as well.
The world is a mission field and from the testimonies of millions of people around the world, the church community is a mission field too. I’m not on a rampage to attempt to pull people from their communities, but rather to minister to them right where they are. Sadly, some churches are the valley of death and God may have a purpose for why he sent our brothers and sisters into those valleys. It’s not for me to tell them what to do, but rather to love them and encourage them.
There’s nothing wrong with a group of Christians who desire to have a building for their activities, conferences, studies, etc. The government offers the tax free status to allow for religious groups to have tax free property to hold all of their events in. Of course, there are some draw backs to that. Every congregation needs to weight the pros and cons to such a commitment, but it is definitely within their freedom to make those choices.
We partnered with a group in Southern California that meets on Sundays for live music and encouraging messages. It’s not a traditional church, but it is it’s own ekklesia. It’s a group of folks who are called out all right. Called out of tradition to love and encourage people right where they are. We have to provide a physical place to gather to be able to plug in the sound equipment and musical instruments. We like to go to restaurants so we can eat while we’re there. I’m satisfied even if we gathered at a public park. It makes no difference to me. This is my local place of refuge (not to be confused with my Savior who is my soul’s refuge).
Then there is this matter of other fields where people find themselves wounded. These places where people are crying out for help right where they are, crippled and unable to leave. They don’t want to leave their families, friends, and fellow soldiers. Sometimes the medical team needs to go to where the soldiers are doing battle. Every congregation will find themselves, at sometime or another, needing to have an intervention to save their squads. Sometimes it’s a private asking for help for a wounded sergeant. Sometimes the sergeant loses touch with reality and needs an intervention to save himself from himself. This is where God has called us to.
Our ministry has taken on an additional aspect due to need. The need to minister to churches and their pastors is great. We get calls from members of congregations, from pastors, from staff members of organizations, and even from some pastor’s wives. They’re hurting and find themselves so crippled that they can’t speak out to their own congregations or leaders. They don’t want to interrupt the work that others are doing in their midst, they don’t want to discourage others with their burdens, and yet they need help.
We have been serving folks just like these for quite a while now. Some situations are deeply intertwined while others seek assistance for prevention. Please keep us in prayer as we serve a unique need in the Body. Whether people decide to stay in their churches or find another, we’re here for them to help in whatever direction they believe they need to go. After everything is said and done, grace needs to be the one thing we all remember and practice. I’m not a practicing Christian, I’m a participating Christian.