according to the author of the blog where I found this picture (firstname.lastname@example.org) “the perfect church” “really exists” and it is located in Atlanta near Turner Field.
Well, I don’t live in the US – if you do, you may want to check it out..?
Is your church perfect?
Is it the first church you ever went to?
Or is it the result of a quest and did you end up there, because it was the best church you were able to find in your town?
Let me tell you about my “spiritual church journey” and about my findings so far.
When I got saved, I was immediately lead by THE HOLY SPIRIT to move to the UK and since I have grown a little in CHRIST and have recently spoken to some people in my home country about HIM, it makes perfect sense to me:
where I come from, there are a lot of misconceptions about Christianity and the doctrine is not very pure, the churches are very empty and there are only a few elderly people in there and there is absolutely no revival in sight – nowhere… may be a bit of a simplified and too generalized description of the church world there, but nevertheless, here in the UK, there is much more going on!
And I am glad I am part of it!
My first station was actually even an Island, which is called a holy island.
It is in Scotland and it has a very old Abbey and there is a Christian Community on the Island, where I lived and worked for a while – that was basically my very first encounter with a church, being right in the middle of it, being even a worship leader and an author of morning prayers right after being born again – nowadays, I am quite astounded how I managed to do that, but I did and I loved every minute of it, even the minutes I did not love at all – if you know what I mean…
I stayed on the island after leaving the Christian Community, I thought I would use the quiet time during the winter to study theology and become ordained – but GOD had other plans with me…
And when GOD has other plans, there is no settling down, there is a searching or a sense of restlessness in the “spirit man” (even though mine is a woman) going on and this one was about the church experience there and about the shallowness and lukewarmness and I was hardly ever spiritually fed by a sermon, had to learn and study on the internet, had to listen to sermons on youtube and like I said, I became restless and did some research on the internet (by the way, this is often how I have found my next steps in life) and I came across something I wanted to do, it was a so called sleep out, an event where a group of us slept in the park for one night to raise awareness and funds for the problem of homelessness and for a specific project, a day center, where homeless people can get advice and food and fresh clothes and can take a hot shower and last, but not least, they can find friendly people there, company and it is also a mission where they are invited and encouraged to learn about JESUS.
I loved the event and the mission and my heart was burning to be part of it!
I applied – even twice!
For their volunteer program and for a job in this day centre – and I was rejected twice…
I was devastated… I thought this was what GOD wanted for me and I couldn’t understand why it didn’t work out.
After healing from the shock, I did other things instead, but what I learned from this trip to London was that I wanted to be there, in London, and find “my church” there.
So I went back a few months later and sent out some applications -it was still very much in my heart to become a missionary, but at the least did I long to do something good with my time, work for a good cause, to support homeless people or sex workers or women who had experienced domestic violence – and the dream of being an evangelist and lead as many people to THE LORD as I possibly can was also still in my heart, it has been ever since, and I was determined to either combine the two or do them seperately one in my free time and one during my working hours.
And the next trip to London didn’t bring me a new job, but brought me to what I believed at that time to be “my church”.
You can already guess that it is not my church anymore.
It was a lovely church and I was very involved there for a while.
But (or AND) at the same time, it was not really my church.
I was a member there for 7 months (even though I started wanting to leave a lot earlier) and you may say, that’s not a lot, but I already realized that I didn’t truly belong there after a few weeks.
So I had moved to London, had found a job (and lost it, too, plus the next one as well – as you may know) and even though I am still very happy to be here in London, mainly because of the variety and number of churches here, I am experiencing this restlessness again and this time, I have been “church searching” very intensely for many, many weeks now.
And all churches I have been to are lovely, very friendly and welcoming.
I have been welcomed so heartily in every single one of them, that I started to become tired of searching, tired of breaking these people’s hearts (of course I am aware that this is a bit too melodramatic and I am probably more offending them when I keep searching, because they probably all think that their church is the best church).
Every church had something I really, really liked – and also, there was one (or more than one) aspect in every single church I didn’t appreciate so much.
I even started doing an excel sheet to compare the churches I went to (many!!! and over a course of many weeks!!) to make it easier to decide, but that didn’t help.
And just in case you are asking now: “why didn’t she pray about it and asked THE HOLY SPIRIT to guide her to the right church?” – I did – all the time. Every time when I thought I had peace or rest and took it as a sign that this was the church where MY FATHER wants me for now, this rest was only very temporary…
Today (Sunday), I was even frustrated and confused and I didn’t know what to do and where to go, until it dawned on me:
There is no such thing as a perfect church.
At least is it not in a building and does not happen on a Sunday.
WE ALL are the church.
The body of CHRIST.
And we are HIS church 24/7, not only on Sundays (or Saturdays) or perhaps once during the week when we have a prayer meeting or a bible study.
So this gives me a little more rest.
I still don’t really know where I should make my church home.
And there is also a little woundedness left from leaving the church I thought was “my church” – and yes, there are also some things I discovered I need in order to feel at home in a church – and it won’t be easy to find one that I really like… but it became easier today.
Became easier with the knowing that there is no such thing as the perfect church and most likely no such thing as the wrong church (at least when there are no false teachers there and that, in fact is more common than I would like it to be!!)
And GOD wants me to seek HIM.
Inside a church but most of all everywhere – in people, in places, in events, in activities, in my work, in my free time – HE wants to live IN me and WITH me, NOT just in a house I visit once or twice a week – in ME!
Finding that relieves me.
And just like I know that HE is alive and with me in all areas of my life, I know that HE will lead me to the church HE wants me to attend.
For longer – or until HE decides it is time for me to move on.
Just like in all the other areas of my life.
And regardless if I like it or not and even more regardless if anyone including myself has opinions or judgements about it.
HE is LORD.
And HE decides where and what I work, where and with whom I live and where and when I worship HIM together with others.
HIS will be done.
Curious what is is/ was that made you stay in the church you attend today?
And if you have not found a church yet, what does your ideal or dream church need in order to make you want to stay or come back there?
I hope these musings will inspire and bless you and I hope and pray that THE LORD will bless you richly in all areas of your life, that HE will keep you and shine HIS face upon you and bring you PEACE. In JESUS’ name I pray. AMEN.