Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Our church, Metrosouth (www.metrosouthchurch.com) was founded not that many years ago when our pastor decided to take the youth group he led in his basement and start a ministry for teens, families, and anybody who shared his vision. They started (before our time) in a “beer hall” and graduated to renting the local high school auditorium which is where we joined them in 2003.
Having been in church my entire life, I’ve learned a few things. One is that there is no one way to do church. Another is that much of the stuff we call Christianity is culture-driven and not Word-driven.
I’ve become convinced that too many of the religious have gained freedom in Christ only to enslave themselves to man-made rules that nobody can remember making.
These being my thoughts, Metro was a good fit for me. To give you a little hint about what it’s all about, it’s locally known as the “rock and roll church.” The fact that many local pastors have taken a stand against Metro was enough to convince me that it’s the place for me. You see, sometimes good-meaning people look at us with our jeans and loud music and can’t seem to see Jesus in there anywhere. Then when the seats start filling and tattooed arms are raised to worship, some folks are downright positive that God wouldn’t receive praise from pierced lips.
In a few weeks Metro will be moving into its first home. We’re renting out an old grocery store and we’ve renovated it into a temple. You can be sure that there will be pics posted when we make the move. I feel kind of like Israel must have felt when they dedicated the temple. Excited isn’t the word, awed is more accurate. Honored that God would use us. Not because we are pierced and tattooed and denim-clad but that he would use any of us. That the God of Abraham would honor us with his presence in any building astounds me, much less right here in this dark heart of mine.
It renews in me the need to send a message to you. Find a church. Find one with stained glass and pews or punk kids and booming bass or something in between. Don’t look for a perfect church because when you show up, it won’t be perfect any more.
If you have a hard time finding a church, let me give you a little advice. Lots of stuff isn’t your business. If you don’t like the way the nursery is run but you don’t want to work there; it’s none of your business. If you don’t think they should pay a youth pastor but God hasn’t put you in a position of financial leadership, it’s none of your business. If you think the place isn’t clean enough but you don’t volunteer to help, it’s none of your business.
You see the pattern? It’s not that I’m trying to criticize. It’s just that all these years in church have taught me that I have specific gifts to bring to the body and those areas are my business. The other stuff that catches the attention of my critical spirit is a distraction from true worship and work for the kingdom.
Do you trust the pastor? Then let him be the pastor. Do you want to worship? Then lift your hands and stop trying to shove song lists into the worship leader’s hands. If you love babies, rock them. If you love children, teach them. If you need hymns, go to a church that sings them.
In a few weeks our rock and roll church will move into our brick-walled auditorium. We’ll anxiously await the café to open up so we can hang out for a cup of java. We’ll admire the funky painted walls. We’ll jump to the bass drum and shout to the Lord with a voice of triumph.
If it isn’t what you’re looking for, we’re ok with that.
But if you don’t have a church, stop cheating yourself out of the kingdom and the kingdom out of you.
Find a place and invest your life.
And if we don’t see you on Sunday, as the old song goes, I’ll meet you in the rapture some sweet day.
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.