The Church – it isn’t a denomination and it sure isn’t supposed to be divisive. It’s God’s family – across all denominations. Catholics – yep. Greek Orthodox – y’all too. Non-denominational, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran – uh huh… all of them!
(background note – this post is in part:
- a response to Jim’s question about ‘can you cheat on your church?’ (if you read it, keep in mind the LarkNews story is tongue-in-cheek but the question was not),
- me writing some thoughts about church family (wayne – my church family pastor talked about it yesterday so it’s a bit fresh on the mind), and
- a bit of a follow-up to my ‘welcome to the family’ post that dealt with church families as well.
When I think denominations I must admit I don’t really get it (and probably never will) – but have always held some belief that there is through the differences, each “compliment each other” for serving and loving God in different ways… but “the church” is the people. THE BELIEVERS. I really like this recent post by Church for Men Florida for describing this…
What most people though consider as church is where you go on Sunday to a building, sing a few worship songs and listen a sermon – but that isn’t really it. That’s a specialized thing – an event that sometimes it seems is made more important than sometimes it should be (especially when we become too much about ourselves and too little about others … it can start becoming religion charades) – something you do with the church (and those you ‘do’ it with are your church ‘family’). Wayne my pastor talked about the 5 benefits of having a church family:
- centering my life around God (worship)
- connect with other believers (fellowship)
- cultivate spiritual maturity (discipleship)
- contribute something back (ministry)
- communicate God’s message (mission)
With all that said though, I don’t think however that having your church ‘family’ should limit you to just doing things with them *exclusively*. Groups even started as part of your church family need not always limit coming to the group to those that are also part of the church family; I actually have found in a few groups we have been involved in it (most recently my growth group) that having people from different church families makes for a very interesting and diverse set of perspectives.
Some friendships I have are not those that come to my church family at all, nor will this be something I feel you must become part of to continue with my friendship (although it would be awesome to have that connection too!). Furthermore, knowing others at different church families actually might strengthen some ministry opportunities beyond one church family – such as ministering to the homeless – in a coordinated effort. No I haven’t had that happen yet – but I’m optimistic that such a thing might happen…