Being in a smaller gym, I get to know the people I see every day and we begin to have conversations. Much of the time it starts with the common goal of exercise, but quickly evolves into more casual, personal conversation. Church should be this easy where people gather for a common goal and purpose, and encourage one another onward. Is your church like this?
Churches like this are often referred to in two ways, one positive and the other ... not so much. The positive way of referring to a church that embodies community is sometimes called a "church of small groups." This is a church that promotes and encourages growth through mutual accountability in small groups. These small groups are based around common interest but all have the main idea of being a place for people to gather together for fun and mutual encouragement to be grace-filled ambassadors.
The negative way of referring to a church that is about community can be referred to as "ingrown," "inward focused," or "clicky." The difference in the positive referral is that those small groups have the idea that there is room for inviting others in ... continually. In fact, there is also the idea that there is a handing off of responsibilities where people come to be able to lead their own groups after a time.
This is a little like going into a gym, getting to know the machines and exercises, seeing results, getting good at nutrition, being guided by a trainer, and then you begin helping others with what you know. You don't have to be a certified personal trainer to help someone get started. You, through camaraderie and relationship, begin to help someone who might be struggling to get started or get over some initial "humps" in their workouts or those "pits" we fall into when we aren't emotionally "there."
In the coming weeks, we'll be starting a Bible Study group, and a couple months after that a Small Group Study. Some church don't like to use those terms because people can be turned off by them. Well I'm sorry, but if you are turned off by those titles then you aren't ready for the next step in your relationship with Jesus Christ in community with others who are. And that's ok. Take your time and let the Holy Spirit move in your heart. When you're ready, you won't care about titles. I also won't worry about calling them fancy names to trick you into thinking they are something other than what might be presented. We'll be studying the Bible in one group, and in the other encouraging one another through certain acts of grace to experience God in new ways in ... you guessed it, a small group!
Keep an eye out of your local. We'd love to have you!
Two steps forward, three steps back.
Just get going and something knocks you off course.
Get to the cellar and then you have to pee.
Those moments just kind of creep up on you. Your doing great and then suddenly - BOOM, you feel like you're "in the pits" again. Naturally the same can be true of exercise and the spiritual life. We all aim for those mountain top experiences. Many people leave the church, and probably the gym, when the daily grind become too much. We want things to happen quickly, and we want to be amazed all the time.
Life just isn't like that ... #srynotsry.
Life is the daily grind. Life is getting up and getting "to it" every day. The pit falls are just going to come. They can be financial, physical, emotional, etc. but they will come. This is just telling you the reality (one you already know). I'm not being a "negative nancy," just setting the ground work for awesome.
So here is the awesome.
The daily grind leads to each moment we long for, and they come just as suddenly as the pitfalls. Those moments are like: when we are happy with the results we see in the mirror, when someone tells us that we have changed for the better, when we become financially free all together or pay off a bill, when we receive a diploma, trophy, award, etc for hard work, or when we land the job we've always wanted and cease to "work" and do what we love.
You don't get to those moments without trudging through the daily grind and getting out of the pits.
I find Philippians 3.12-21 helpful. Paul has the humility to recognize that he needs to keep going in order to receive eternal life. And guess when eternal life comes? At death. Boom. That's right, but is straining to live towards the glorious day when he dies, and is living each day toward one end - eternity. He is not sitting back and waiting because he is "saved," no. He is becoming more every day.
We can do the same. And when we have Christ, he strengthens us when we hit those pits. He brings us up out of them, and sets us back on the path the leads to greater things.
So press on through the daily grind and do not be idle. Keep going!
Some "weekly" musings from Pastor Dave as he sits on his porch and drinks coffee, thinking about theology and lifting heavy weights. For gymsharks, there is something called "Flex Fridays," where we vainly put up photos of ourselves flexing. So this blog is my attempt to flex my theological muscles through reflection ... get it?