Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership
God's Presence, Kids, Distance, PastorsBy Evan Nehring
So, back to the Church Search Matrix today. Reminder: The church search matrix is about clarifying what’s important to you and what’s important to the church, then taking it to God in prayer. I got a pile of feedback when I asked about what's important to you on my Facebook page and Twitter. Not as much on G+. Let's look at the first four factors: presence of God, kids/youth programs, distance, pastors and leaders.
Presence of God
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. (Exodus 33:15)
First of all, there’s a difference between being in God’s will and being in God’s presence. In other words, it’s great to do all the right things but I want to also rest in the glorious presence of God. Am I saying there’s an experiential aspect to walking with God? Yes, I am.
In one sense, being in the presence of God is all that matters. Yet Scripture shows us that God is a God of action! In a sense all of these church qualities reflect an aspect of the presence of God. This first quality is a broad way of asking when hanging out with a church, “Is God here?”
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
The kid thing is what’s shaking us up right now and causing us to look around. Our church has wonderful children’s and youth programs, but our eleven-year-old doesn't know the kids there. We’ve tried reaching out to families. They were great. Really great. We had lunch in their homes. We hung out and connected…then we drove back to our city.
The power of passing on godliness to our kids at church can’t be overstated. We are molding the next generation. We are shaping our beloved children. Student ministry is a big deal.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. (Acts 2:46a)
Yeah, they met every day. Church meetings are on Sunday, usually, but there are dozens of interactions that happen every day through the week. THAT is church. Church doesn't dominate but it weaves through the rest of our activities and relationships. Church is who we are.
Being 30 miles away makes us feel schizophrenic. It’s unwholesome. Maybe for someone else 30 miles is doable. Maybe we’ll need to find a way to make it work. Staying connected vitally with a church across the country? That would be a stretch.
Pastors and Leaders
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)
I love pastors and church leaders. I love the shepherd’s heart. Are the values and gifts of pastors and leaders an important part of how my family’s values will fit with the church? Absolutely! Do I expect perfection? No. I expect safety. I expect freedom from manipulation.
How pastors handle authority is important to us. Overbearing, domineering church leadership borders on cult leadership. It scares the bejordan out of me! In a while we’ll look at servant leadership. Seems to me that’s Jesus’ style. One way or another, our relationship with church leadership will be a big factor.
Remember, if you fill out a matrix for yourself, it'll look something like this:
Then you add it all up...and pray!!!
God, here's what we are seeing. Where would you send us to find a home and make a difference?