What is your Church For?

I've posted before about the fact that we're currently looking for a place to serve after graduation. It's a little nerve-wracking for Kari, especially when we get calls from churches in really cold places. But I love this process. I love hearing about what churches are doing in other areas of the country. I love talking about my philosophy of ministry, my hope for the Church, and the things I believe God has placed on my heart to do.

My very favorite part of the process is the initial phone interview with a church. You can tell so much about a church by the initial contact you have with them.

For example, if the first contact with me comes from a layperson, I get some idea of the value a church places on non-staff leaders (or the absence of staff leaders in some cases). If the interviewer asks to pray at the beginning of the conversation, I learn something from that. (interestingly, and sadly, this has only happened once in twenty or so phone interviews)

I also learn a ton about a church from the questions they ask. And the most important thing I'm looking to find out is whether or not the church is for anything.

There are too many churches today that seem to exist because of the things that they're against. Every day churches are formed because a group of people are against the music of their former church, or against the government style of their former church, against a particular nitche doctrine, or against a particular political view. Churches are great at being against stuff.

I don't want to be the pastor of a church who is only against stuff. And they're easy to spot.

I had an initial phone interview with a church the other day, and the first questions the interviewer asked me were, (1) "Are you comfortable preaching against abortion?" (2) "Do you have any problem saying that homosexuality is a sin?" (3) "Do you believe in Hymns or those new songs?" That's a church who only exists to be against stuff.

Now of course, there are things that the Church should be against. The New Testament is chock full of examples of things that the Christian should oppose. But those things are not the reason for the church's existence. The Church does not exist in the world to fix homosexuals. The Church doesn't exist in the world to keep girls from having abortions. The Church doesn't exist in the world because God needed representatives on earth to be against stuff for Him.

The Church exists in the World for the purpose of pointing the nations to God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. We exist for a purpose, not against a purpose.

I want to serve a church that is for making disciples, for being a light to the world, for being ambassadors for Christ, for showing the world that hope is possible in Jesus Christ. There are plenty of things to be against, but I want to be known because of the things I am for.