It Feels Like Tension
In this journey of church planting, there has been two constant messages that always catch me off guard, no matter how many times I see them.
One - I have pastored, and been part of existing churches several times, and no matter the type of church, there are always families that have been attending for decades or longer. These famillies have a sense of ownership and care for the church, that new people just really don't have. Of course like anything, if it's misplaced, it can be a problem; but usually it is a really beautiful thing. Being a church plant, there is no one at Woodland who has been going here forever, and therefore there is no-one who is deeply committed to the future of the church and its needs in that same way.
Two - Since Woodland is new, the flip side to number one is, you never run into conflict of people upset that we are changing things, or doing things in a way we never have before. The culture of the church is undefined in so many ways, and if we're not careful, the church will just take on whatever culture we accidentally create. It's both a fragile thing, but also a tremendous gift, because it's a blank canvas of sorts that we get to paint on.
So as you can imagine, I spend a lot of my time encouraging people to serve, connect and be a part, as well as a lot of time asking God what kind of culture He wants His church, this church, to have.
A lot of God's answer to me concerning this question has been in the arena of diversity. Diversity of age, God doesn't want a church of only under 30. Diversity of gifts, God doesn't want a church of only teachers. Diversity of people, God doesn't want a church of only middle class families with 2.5 children.
This has caused me to really see the beauty of God's diversity in His creation. I have learned to see more and more of the beauty of people that come from a totally different world than me. I have learned to see more and more the need for different types of gifts in the church that I don't have. I have learned to see the absolute necessity of the older generation sharing their heart and wisdom with the younger generation.
God made diversity and it's a gift, an amazing gift.
But here's the thing...
Diversity brings tension. Seeing things differently seems cool, until two people who see something differently have to make a decision! Then it feels a lot more like hard work.
1 Corinthians 12:27 "Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it."
When this says "you" it's not talking about you singular, it's talking about "you" collectively... all "you" people, are the church. That means, "you" singular, without everyone else around you... are not the church... you singular are a small part of the church.
We are supposed to do our part, bring our gift, bring our perspective, share what we have... and when we do, amazing things happen. More importantly, the full picture, the best thing, is when we each bring those gifts together, as one church, one people, with all our differences!
The only catch is, as we walk this out... it feels a lot like tension!
Love you friends!