Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Plug In!

Hebrews 10:25 says, "Do not neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

This post is to encourage you to get plugged into a church family.

As everyone knows, I recently joined a new church. It was my fourth church to become a member of & I've been made aware of many things, throughout this process in particular.

In every instance, the Lord has chosen which church family I became a part of. I joined the first church because that was the one my family attended. My parents were in charge of seeking the Lord & finding the church home He had for us. When I was seven, I was saved, & became a member of my family's church through baptism. My second church membership belonged to the church that my Youth Pastor husband was already serving in. The third & fourth memberships were absolutely chosen by God for my family. As I was thinking about this post, I thought about how we've never chosen for ourselves which body of Believers we would join. But I thought that should be the same for every Christian who seeks God's will.

When God chooses your church family:

1. It's important to know that it is not unlike the family you were birthed into. It will not be perfect. Some people will get on your nerves. Some people will hurt you. But in my experience, the good FAR outweighs the bad. You will have relationships that challenge you, make you a better person, love you unconditionally, & you have the privilege of "doing life" together. There is nothing like relationships where you have that spiritual intimacy. You get accountability partners, prayer partners, & people who help bear your burdens.

2. It probably won't feel completely like family overnight. I feel as if my mind is freshest to talk about these points (2&3). We were at our last church for eight years, & at this point, I can hardly remember not knowing & loving everyone. It was quite different being the "new kid" at church again. When we joined PHBC we knew our Search Committee (pretty intimately, I would say) but that was all. Being a Pastor's Wife might change up the dynamic a little-I think it can work both, for me, & against me, as far as relationships go. This church was larger than our last churches, & my path didn't cross any of the committee members in my basic Sunday/Wednesday comings & goings.

3. Get Involved! I found a Sunday School class I loved, joined the choir, & was really taking my time to seek God & get to know the church to find what ministries God wanted me to take part in. Even being involved in those things, even going every Sun. morning, night, & Wed. night, by our third week in Petal, I prayed that God would give me people to "do life" with. I say all this to say-there is no way you're going to form spiritually intimate, familial relationships by just attending on Sunday mornings. There's just no way.
I prayed that prayer on our third week here, & as always, the Lord answered! During week four, a friend invited me & the boys for a playdate at the zoo, my SS class had a party, I was asked to be a Bunco sub. During week five, I went to lunch with a couple of people, I went out for a girls' night with some church ladies.
In order to get involved-you may just have to step out of your comfort zone! You may have to spend time with someone that you think you have nothing in common with. You may have to initiate spending time with someone you think is fun or that you have things in common with. Sometimes it might be awkward, but I have found that all of my awkwardness has totally been worth it!

4. Trust the Lord. Be sensitive to the things that the Lord wants you to do. You may not want to attend that shower, or try out that other Sunday School class, or help with that Middle School Event, but if God is telling you to do it, it's definitely for a reason.
I've slowly made acquaintances, formed relationships, & the familial & spiritual intimacy is happening! We have been here over four months & while I feel as if it took a long time to form these relationships, I think about them & the depth to them now. I think about the awkward smiles &, "How are yous?!" & see that they've changed into inside jokes & intimate conversations. I see that the Lord has been working hard all along to help these relationships form & grow. Trust Him. He knows what He's doing.

I've been reflecting on our journey lately (shocker!) & I can absolutely see how the Lord has done this at every church I've been a part of. He's been faithful every time. This whole post was prompted by the state of joy I've been in today. I just came back from a planning trip for the Women's Ministry & got to know some fantastic women that I already know I can "do life" with. Our church started the Daniel Fast today & I'm getting encouraging texts & loving seeing everyone sharing their meals. & I'm gathering things to wear for our sports themed Bunco tomorrow night. I get to sub again-which means I have subbed every month since I've moved here. I can't help but think how at home I feel with my church family & how I actually feel as if I BELONG. I hope this encourages someone who is not quite there today. I get it. I've been the "new kid." Whether God wants you to join a church, or actually go more than Sunday morning. Be obedient & give it your all. It's absolutely worth it.

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