Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We need you!

I listen to a variety of podcasts on an on and off basis. Lately I've been listening to Matt Chandler from The Village Church. God's really been speaking to me through him. The following quote (I've tried to get it correct) is from a sermon (the sermon title is 39 Weeks) he did using Romans 12 as a text. Read it over and share your thoughts.

In order for me to be all that I'm supposed to be, I need you. In order for you to be what you were meant to be, you need me. In order for us to be all that we need to be in this city and this world for His kingdom then we desperately need one another. We need each other. Let me say it this way: The more spectators we have here the weaker we are. The more people we have who come week after week after week with no intention of anything more than hearing songs and sitting down, the weaker we are. I think this is a Bible-belt issue, but there's a big difference between going to church and belonging to a church. There's not a lot of Scripture that commands you to go to church. There are tons that talk about belonging to a church. It's really hard for you to grow into who you need to grow into without the relationships and sacrificial service of belonging to a place. And for the record, I don't care if it's here or not.

These words really spoke to me because my passion for Hub City is that it's not a church you go to, but a community to be a part of, a people/movement to belong to and we need each other. What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear comments for, against, or otherwise.


At 4:31 PM, November 11, 2008 , Anonymous Josh Brickey said...

I think that Chandler hit it right on the head. People have been taught (wrongly) to believe that the most important facet of their relationship with Christ is that it is a "personal relationship." Obviously, a relationship with Christ is personal in it's immediate implications, but semantically it might make more sense to talk about your "interpersonal" relationship with Christ. You can't have a relationship with God without having relationships with others.

I'm excited to see God use Hub City to join people together in the Upstate. You definitely are on the right track.

At 5:06 PM, November 11, 2008 , Blogger pat gillen said...

I totally dig Matt Chandler... thanks for sharing these words. 100% true!

At 7:11 PM, November 11, 2008 , Anonymous Jaimee said...

This message is right on and something I've really been struggling with for quite some time. I do see a difference between the Bible Belt and up north in how we "do church." We are much more progressive up there and tend to go to church because it really means something to us, whereas down here (SC) from my experience, church is largely something people do because it is what is socially expected. This kind of waters the whole thing down for everybody. I really agree with the needing eachother thing, though I won't lie, it scares the ever living crap out of me, because trusting eachother and leaning on eachother like that is an excellent way of being vulnerable and thereafter getting hurt... but hey, who am I right? I didn't write the program and I'm sure there's a darn good reason for that! I guess where I am now is that I really do not feel like I am being a Christian. I am isolated and not functioning as part of the body. It's just that it is such a major turn off that the only available outlet for being part of the body is "church." It's just such a flawed system and is so tied up in all kinds of hypocrisy and hurt for a ton of people that it's kinda hard for someone like me to purposely go to a place like that expecting to find the love of Christ... It's almost like an oxymoron. Tradition I think is the biggest barrier to Jesus. And church as we know it is the take the cake winner of the tradition trophy. It's just unfortunate that that's all we have to work with.

So you're "emergent church" movement friendly? Brian McLaren, Mosaic, etc? Definitely some interesting stuff.

A book you may enjoy reading is called "Jim and Caspar Go To Church." You can get it at the library.

Sorry this is so long!

At 9:11 PM, November 11, 2008 , Blogger Jonathan Everette said...

Love the comments. Jaimee, I love the long comment. Thanks for being open and real. I'd love to keep this conversation going. I would agree that sometimes it's almost finding "the love of Christ" is difficult in many church's, which is a shame (really, it's despicable), because Jesus said "they will know that you are my disciples by your love." I think my challenge would be to risk being a part and love the messiness in others like Jesus loves the messiness in us. Personally, I'm loving the "messy" people that God is bringing us.

I have read "Jim and Casper go to church." It was a great read. One thing is for sure. I don't want Hub City to be a church people go to. I want it to be a movement that you belong to that's transforming lives, that's transforming Spartanburg, that's transforming the world.

At 8:26 AM, November 12, 2008 , Anonymous Jaimee said...

Oh, ok, so I'm messy now huh? lol. Just kidding. Glad to be of service. :) Allen and I are just so over trying to impress people that sometimes I can go a bit overboard!

I think Hub City definitely has the potential of changing people and making a difference. I just think it's a shame it has to be a "church." We were involved in an actual community of believers for awhile in Ohio and it was an awesome experience as far as the taking care of eachother and breaking bread with eachother, etc. And I learned alot about Christianity, doctrine, the faith... But Jesus had left the building, so to speak. We were very wrapped up in being good and it was a very repressive environment, at least for the women. (dresses to the floor, headcoverings, couldn't speak in the church... you know, fun stuff like that). We were never really Amish enough to fully belong to the club I think.

Then you have the seventh day baptist church we were part of for 9 years. allen worked there for 2 and we left because they wanted to fire him for working past sundown on Friday night (sabbath)...Apparently we weren't "trusting God" to provide us with the perfect job which would magically pay all our bills AND allow us to accurately "keep" the sabbath-- nevermind that the pastor's kids worked, they all went to movies and out to eat, and generally just went to church on saturday and that was it.

Then you have restoration here which we attended for 2 years, really became involved, loved people there... And when I was really sick for a year, had to hear how I was listening to satan and the world and not having faith in God to heal me... Had to explain to Cass (in 1st grade at the time) that speaking in tongues is only ONE of the spiritual gifts and there was nothing wrong with her if that's not her gift...

Yeah, you could say we've become a bit... jaded?

There's just got to be something better. At least I would hope. We have decided to hunker down and do this church thing again. But I have to tell you, I feel a bit like one of those crazies who is willing to blow himself up for "the cause." Like I am purposely setting myself up, and I look from the outside and go NO! Don't do it! (like in the movies, when you know the way its going to turn out and no matter how much you yell at the screen, the idiot is going to get himself shot, eaten by a monster, whatever).

Argh. Wow. Looking over my posts I realize what an eternal optimist I've become. Very cheery-like.

At 8:50 AM, November 12, 2008 , Blogger Jonathan Everette said...


Thank goodness all of us are messy. Some of us are just in more denial than others! (a great book on this is Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli) Let me say that I would be jaded too. If I had gone through what y'all had gone through I'd seriously want to give up on church.

But here's my passion/desire/drive. I seriously want to redefine what comes to people's mind when they think about church. I mean, the church is supposed to be the bride of Christ, the body of Christ. If that's the case, the church should be the most attractive, beautiful, exciting, engaging, world-changing entity in the universe. But that's not what it's become, unfortunately. Our passion is to change that (thus the reason for this next series - Dream - that begins Sunday).

I'm not into bashing other church's but it sounds like you've had some major legalism thrown your way in the past. That's definitely not Jesus-like. It's Pharisee-like. Also, I know I may get flack for this, but that whole "you don't have enough faith or God would heal you stuff," is a bunch of CRAP!!! I would use a stronger word, but I'm a pastor. :) Seriously, that is nowhere in Scripture and is an abusive lie that certain groups promote. Tell that to Paul. Tell that to all the disciples who lost their lives for Jesus. Tell that to Mary and Martha and Lazarus (read that story... it shows that Lazarus' suffering wasn't because of a lack of faith but so that God would be glorified... which is a bit disturbing, but at the same time slams the whole "faith" arguement). I could go on, but I'm getting worked up.

I guess I'd say to you and to all the other people out there who have been burned by church, I'm sorry. That's not the way it's supposed to be. Belonging to, being a part of a church should be as close to being with Jesus as we can possibly be. That's what I want us to create.

Are we going to be perfect? No way. Just look at the leader. But are we going to do our best to be the church and make disciples and transform our community and world? You bet. And when we screw up, or hurt someone's feeling, or misrepresent Jesus we're going to apologize, ask for forgiveness, forgive and keep loving each other. Honestly, typing that is what I want to give my life to. I can't think of anything more freeing, redemptive or exciting to be involved with.

Whoa, that was LONG. I need to get back to work!


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