Paperback? Catchy Cover Design? Hardback? Leather Bound? How would describe your church? There is definitely a “look” or “style” to every church. From the outside (building, signs, advertising, people that go there, how they dress) one can say, “Oh, that’s an xyz kind of church.” Or, THAT one, they are definitely an ABC church.
I spent years thinking one way about a church not far from where I live. I had “heard” that they were “seeker-friendly” but “not biblically solid.” The funny thing is, I had formed a solid opinion about that church and I had never even been there. Sad, isn’t it? When I went there early this spring, I was pleasantly surprised at the genuine worship and the solid, soul-convicting message. I almost felt like I needed to apologize to someone that I had those thoughts. We do that; we judge a book by its cover. We take the bits and pieces that we see and hear and form an uneducated opinion about something. Not just churches, many areas of life.
One thing I found while we were on deputation, (the fancy word for when missionaries gallivant around the country begging for funds to be able to fulfill God’s calling on their life) was how diverse churches were, even within a relatively similar denomination. It definitely was something that I embraced and celebrated, the different ways that people came together to worship our Lord. One church in Western Georgia had a ho-down blessed gospel time praisin’ the Lord with the good ‘ol Gaither style hymns. Fantastic! Another church was “blended”… a little of the “old” and a little of the “new”. Super! Yet another rockin’ and praisin’. Awesome! One church used the abc Bible, another the xyz version. Great! One pastor wore a suit and tie, another decked out in jeans and a button down shirt, no tie. Sweet!
It truly is sad when believers think their way is the only way! One sad situation we were made aware of was when a group of devoted Christ-Following Laotian people were asked to find another place of worship, because they used an acoustic guitar and clapped their hands and stomped their feet when they were praising the Lord. It was a mix of their culture and their love for Christ. So often we try to Americanize different people group’s Christianity.
I’m sure people will (if they haven’t already) form opinions of what LifePoint will be. “Oh, that’s another one of those “relevant” type churches.” There is a movement out there of “emergent/relevant” churches, and you DO have to be careful that your church is solid, founded on Biblical principals and on Mission with God, reaching people. I was blessed to hear a comment from a visitor who came to the walk-through last Sunday. He said, “I didn’t know a one of those songs, but the words and the message in them were great!”
Yes, our book would be in the Relevant Section (did you know there is a whole section devoted to “Relevant Churches” in some Christian Bookstores??) Paperback. Catchy logo. Youthful. Between the covers, though, there’s the meat of the Word of God, there’s real Christians walking this sometimes bumpy road with Christ. There’s love. There’s coffee (that’s just a bonus J). There’s an open invitation to start a walk with Christ. If you’re in a burgundy, leather bound, gold-embossed church, God bless you! I’m sure He already is. Let’s not walk this road judging each other’s covers. Let’s make heaven a little more crowded because of them and celebrate diversity of ethnicity, age, style within the body of Christ.