What Do You Consider Your *Church*

A friend recently commented on my use of “**”s. They’re for emphasis. And seeing as how I write as I talk, I must emphasize things a lot. But I like to use “**”s: they shake things up and take things to a different level. You know how folks use air quotes: do you like him, or do you “like” him? Sometimes that seems so flippant. My use of “**”s is the same idea: only more meaningful (and a better stretch for the fingers on the keyboard).

Yesterday I met with a group at church who are discerning direction for worship in our faith community: how are we called to worship, and are we following through with that? We ended up discussing something that doesn’t quite related to the topic at hand but gave me some good stuff to think about. Folks shared about hearing a sense of individuals not feeling connected to the larger body: they felt that fellowship times weren’t available or weren’t satisfying. As a group we began to name places where we did feel connected in our lives, places we felt community, we felt *church* (see: deeper, non-flippant meaning – ya know what I mean?).

For me *church* takes place on Thursday mornings with the women in Bible Fellowship. We chat, we eat, we learn, we pray and cry and rejoice and support. Sunday mornings are very distracting for me, but Thursday mornings I find myself able to center down almost instantaneously.

Folks shared about small groups and Sunday schools that they’ve felt *church*, spinning groups and mens breakfast groups and mentoring relationships where they’ve felt that deep connection that goes beyond the simple surface “we live in the same vicinity so we must hang out”. But rather, something more organic and deep and *church*.

So, what do you consider your *church*? Can you name it in your life? And why aren’t we spending more time finding out what God’s doing there rather than trying to bring God into places we don’t feel that connection? Or, what is God calling us to bring from those places of connectedness to places where we feel it lacking?

*?*

6 thoughts on “What Do You Consider Your *Church*

  1. Brother Maynard

    Some of the Internet old-timers will know that when we did everything in plain text for newsgroups and email, you would enclose a word in // for italics and in ** for bold or __ for underline. Some applications like Thunderbird will convert this convention to the rich-text equivalent; there are a few of us who use those conventions as an old habit!

    But to the question, *church* in my mind is the network of people with whom I share a spiritual journey… nothing to do with a building or an organization.

  2. Denise

    Yes…church is good, and quite often inspiring. But the definition about which you speak is found in a few places in my life. Every Wednesday morning I meet at a local eatery with 4 other ladies from church to share a meal, our lives, our struggles, our joys. While that is not terribly deep most of the time, it still fills a need to go “deeper” in my life. I am bound to these friends in a deeper way than what I experience on Sunday morning. However, true “church” for me would be going even deeper…a “small group” experience if you will…which is missing right now in my life. Yes, to agree with the prior post, true church must be the “network of people with whom I share a spiritual journey…”

  3. Michelle

    Yes, AJ, Women’s Bible Fellowship is definitely a place where I feel like I’m in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I still love Sunday morning too-but I do feel less inhibited in WBF. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could come to WBF….hmmm, then it wouldn’t be WBF. Or perhaps if we could move upstairs what we’ve seemed to find downstairs. I love that we haven’t “programmed” in anything to make WBF become what it is. It just is. I believe that’s the work of one thing- prayer. I’m also trying to discern whether or not my issues with Sunday Service is my personal problem or really a problem with Sunday morning worship programming. Am I holding myself back because of the sheer number of people that might stop and gasp if I got up and really responded to the music as I wish I could or if I went into the aisle and found myself on my face in prayer? Sometimes I think the “problem” is that I’m a much more enthusiastic worshipper than most Friends. I love my church family-but I’m a “gettin’ Jiggy with it” kind of girl in a “Lawrence Welk” congregation. Nahh, we’re not that bad. And if we didn’t have the differences in age and opinions we also wouldn’t be nearly as rich in wisdom and history as we are. I value those things very much. So I can save my jammin’ to my home and car and maybe just tap my toes and clap my hands, and sway my hip just a pinch in Sunday service. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Abbie

    Wow! Michelle TOTALLY hit the nail on the head with that one.
    I too feel so blanketed with Gods presence Thursday Mornings at WBF. No judgments, just uninhibited love for each other and the different lifestyles each of us brings to the table. LOVE IT.
    I too wonder from time to time if I am holding myself back because of the fear of peoples reactions. Will I be offending those around me?
    I love our new church home and I’m willing to be patient while we figure out whats comfortable for everyone where worship is concerned. (maybe in the mean time michelle and I will get together and ‘get down’ in the privacy of our own homes/cars!) ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. nancy

    i have asked this question of myself for a couple of years and then in frustration asked God to answer the question and show me what church is.

    it seems that the answer to this question is very similiar to the one i would get if i asked God to show me who He is.

    the answer is coming in relation to my walk and what i can understand. i know that through belief in Jesus, the son of the Father God, that i am part of the body of Christ. i think that the church and the body of Christ is the same thing. the church is spread out and lives in different countries, governments, and denominations. it is spreading through out the earth and is connected by the Holy Spirit of God. i am thinking that the church/body can be seen in many different places and in many ways because of how the Spirit of God works. i look forward to finding out more about the church through Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the Father. just as i am looking forward to knowing God better.

    when i attend the gathering on Sunday morning i find that i have had to learn to listen and be still in that gathering unless i am really sure that i am to speak. i am afraid i am a bit if a freak sometimes.

    in fellowship with women is a special place that allows for more communication and still i have had to learn to listen and be still at times…and i am still learning.

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