In Search of Better Stories

My Journey into understanding church — We are Servants — Part 3

After 4 years, my time drew to a close at this little church. I was discouraged because there were multiple problems with this church. I began to ask questions like, “If this is what Christianity is all about, do I want to be a part of it?” The answer in my soul was a resounding “NO!” But Jesus was real to me and I had come to love the gospel. What should I do? A brilliant idea came, so I packed everything up and enrolled in Seminary. As newlyweds, my wife and I moved into an apartment complex that was almost completely African American.

We intentionally built our schedules so that our evenings and weekends were free so we could love our neighbors in simple ways.  A kid’s club started, then a youth group, then an adult Bible study. Then came haphazard Christmas concerts and camping trips – it was awesome! As people came to know and love us, it seemed that they came to know and love the God in whose name were serving. It was such a beautiful thing. The church we were attending got excited too and began to help out. They eventually hired me as a full-time associate pastor.  This was a precious season in our lives, but it was also the time that God used to help me realize something crucial about the church. I became very busy with message prep, trustee meetings, deacons meetings, event planning, crisis counseling, parent meetings, trip coordinating, advertising, and media stuff. The work of the ministry became all-consuming. One day I found myself irritated because once again I did not have the time to reach out to my neighbors because I was too busy with the church. As I mulled this over, “the penny dropped” and I had a defining moment of realization. I was too busy doing church work to be on a mission in my neighborhood. I didn’t have time to serve those who needed the gospel because I was too busy preaching the gospel. It was one of those unforgettable “uh oh! what am I doing?” moments.

At that point, I began to pour myself into the study of ecclesiology: What is the church? Why are we here? What do we do? What do we look like? Meta communities is the grand experiment of this journey into understanding the church. At Meta, we see ourselves as a family, not a business or service, event, or club.  But a community of people that know, love, and take care of each other, we try to welcome people into the good news of Jesus by welcoming them into this family regardless of where they are at on their spiritual journey. We believe we are sent by God into this world to tell, and show the good news of Jesus in the every day, it’s who we are, and finally, since Jesus said “I am among you as one who serves” we endeavor to embrace his servant DNA into the very fabric of our lives.

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