“Vona, where do you go to church? Or…are you going to church?” That is the most common question I get these days. My pastoral transition from a traditional church setting to what we call, “extension ministry” brings a lot of curiosity. And most of the curiosity is about “church”. Not surprising, is it? It feels like “Church” is a curiosity for many. So where do I go??
Today I’m headed to worship at a new church plant in Nashville. I’ve been wanting to see (curious) what God is doing there. Last Sunday I worshiped with my mom at her church in Kentucky; the first time I’ve worshiped there with her in maybe 10 years. All the Sundays of August I was teaching at Epworth UMC for a church-wide study. And in July I worshiped from the pews of 61st Avenue UMC with my Hispanic brothers and sisters of Ebenezer. It made me feel connected to my friends in Guatemala; I needed that connection.
For me, the question is not so much “where” right now. It’s why. Why am I going today? I’m going because I want to see what God is doing in the churches all over Middle Tennessee (that’s the curious follower of Christ in me). I want to to support my pastor colleagues. I want to “show up” for the Church. But I’m going for a much more important reason than all of these. The journey of being someone who is trying to live a life that honors God is not an easy life. It requires unusual choices, high risks and sometimes great heartache. It calls you into situations that don’t fit the rules and occasionally you get hurt in there. It also leads you into the deepest places of life, joy and peace that you can ever find. Nothing compares to the journey with Christ. I like adventure and I trust God.
But this is definitely not a solo journey. We need….I need…the strength of others who also believe. Nothing compares to the blessings we experience among the community of believers. None of us will have the complete faith we need in every moment of our lives. But of all us, together, will not only find what we need, we will be the Light that shines in darkness..the Light that overcomes the darkness; the Light that is the Church. However and wherever and whenever they gather. Where are you going?