-OK HERE WE GO-
I’ve been attending a big church (Elevation) for a while now (I believe since Jan.) and I have found great love, great worship, great involvement within church and fellowship come out of it. But what I have also found, are the people on the outside (and a few on the inside, not naming any names) have self perceived their own image out of this church that is morphed in this microcosm bowl of mixed feelings; despise, contempt, and others. You can’t let your own personal grudges boil over into belittling animosity. IT becomes a game of over exaggeration, misinterpretation, and misrepresentation (on both ends). I’ve heard many complaints that have come out of peoples mouth (obviously), connecting a growing church to a cult, or even the sign of the times. I’ve heard complaints about a large church pastor not having the compassion (that’s the vibe I got) to come down to the attendees level, such as; a pastor coming to see a sick person in the hospital, or answering a request to the church. It just so happens I read something from this here Bible and in fact it talks about this, in Acts . In Acts 6:1 it reads:”Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.”
And this seems to be the general consensus in terms of the critics of a large church. The critique is a logical, rational one. I can see where it comes from. And I partially agree with it. My thoughts are in short two fold. First and foremost, also formulated logically (that sounded aggressive, I apologize for that, all love here) a pastor at the head of a growing church does not have the necessary time in a day to please all the needs of every church member. Our Pastor specifically, goes out and involves himself in the things he pushes the church to do, for example, volunteering, spreading love, giving money to the right causes, and having a healthy, growing, ever evolving, relationship with God. He must not only balance these duties with church but also with his family. That is why we have multiple campuses in my opinion. Yes, it is not the main man up on stage, but the campus pastor and all the staff would be more than willing to talk to you about anything going on, and the volunteers, and the attendees. We are all taught to be open arms when it comes to building a person up, and pointing them the right direction. Secondly, I believe that our church is growing in a healthy way. A way that is different yes, but different doesn’t always mean bad. We aren’t just going to a church to watch TV. It is not physically possible, as of right now (unless someone can invent this) to be at multiple locations at once to give a sermon live. And to keep that personal feel of a smaller church but involved in a larger mission, the plan has always been and still is; to leave space for God to grow, that is why the campuses while full, still have empty seats. When a campus fills up they find room, whether it be opening up a new experience time, or a new campus. So to keep these things happening, and things running efficiently is to broadcast from one location to all the others. I believe that our seed is good, it was a mustard seed placed in the rich soil of God’s choosing, and has grown, and is still growing into what it has become today.
In Acts 9:31 it reads: “So, the church throughout all of Judea, Galilee and Samaria was multiplied in number, enjoyed peace, was built up [spiritually] and lived in awe of the Lord and was comforted by the Holy Spirit.” I believe this is the direction we are heading, and I believe that these qualities are rooted in the soil of our growing church. So this post was mostly, well firmly for the purpose of distilling the misinterpretation from real, personal thoughts after attending a big church. Yes, there are some false prophets out there. Just because one dresses differently and speaks a little louder than the others, doesn’t mean he is one of them. There are people you should beware but I mean let’s look at Matthew 3 for a moment: “4: John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. 5: People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. 6: And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.” John was a different guy, he stood out but he was a man of God, and spread love his own way. We all have our own gifts, some a little more quirky, some more personal, some extroverted, some introverted, some speakers, preachers, caregivers, some people take people to church, musicians, volunteers, (and many more) but all of us love God, and want to spread His message. All of us love what mankind can do when we band together under Him, with one praise. Let’s not raise a false conspiracy, or false advertise just to self fulfill an inner void, rather fill that void with righteousness, self love, gratitude, humbleness, and a yearning for more. If we try to wrap our heads around interpersonal stuff that is sparked by the created ideas within it only leads to false criticism. All it leads to is specious voices looming in the background, all the while they could be a part of the body of God, and join hands for a greater good.
Growing up in a church culture, I found that all my church experiences were in no way shape or form the written definition of that word. It was no experience, rather it was a by the books message, delivered by a tired preacher waiting for Monday to come, and a uniform crowd of people with lethargic tones, and a band that plays music from the stone age. I am not trying to bash those churches, some of them have good messages and a great body of people growing in Christ. The ones I have experienced though have been riddled with conformity, and a monotone spirit. I wanted to feel revitalized. I was saved, and baptized but I wanted more out of Church and more out of life. That is exactly what I found when I started attending church at Elevation. At first, yes, heck yes I was hesitant, but I didn’t want to hamper the ability for the church to move inside me by influencing a personal bias to conclude a false judgement. I knew a prejudice would be unfair to the ones who invited me to see the church and would be unfair to the church as whole, and to God, because I believe, I had an opportunity here, I was in the midst of my life, at a point where I could grow, and see growth around me rooted in God. A glitch is the sign of a kismet. That was the overall message I got from this church. You see many who walk in the doors, who can look different, maybe would look like an outcast in a typical church but here they are welcomed, and rejoiced, and directed to Jesus. I think all these would only betoken that this is a church for all. In short, the comments stated about the church critiquing the roots of the message its going for, the thoughts on the pastor, the thoughts on the overall “system,” are not outlandish per se, but reasonable on the surface, but after involving myself in this church I feel I have found a home. I have hindsight, and you know what they say about hindsight.
There is no hidden message here. We are who we are. There is no surreptitious secrets (new word I recently acquired) behind the curtains.
But you can go wherever you feel lead to go.