Kris and I haven’t been going to church.
We went, in September. But now we don’t go any more. People have asked me where we go, and I usually say something like, “Well, we are starting a church…” They usually look at me and say, “Yeah…but like, where do you go?”
Not sure when our church will officially become legit enough for people to believe that that is the one I go to… but I’ll keep ya posted. 😉
The truth? The bright, early Sunday morning truth? We go to Bob Evans. Every Sunday morning my family wakes up, we pray and we go to Bob Evans. We sit down, order coffee, let Anastasia chew on a creamer packet and eat.
We do also feed her real food once it comes…just clarifying.
Our original intention (and probably still our main intention) was to meet people in our community who wouldn’t be in church on Sunday morning.
Side note and quick word on “the church.” Sometimes the church can operate like a junior high dance. The boys and girls are separated on two sides of the room and people are just praying that somebody will come across the room and at the very least join them, if not boogie down. The church is praying for the same thing: people to come across the room and join them, if not fully commit and boogie down — in the most holy way possible, of course. Not that this is necessarily bad, it’s just an analogy. As we began preparing for this church plant God began speak to Kris and myself about a different type of church. The words he gave us for our mission was, “The Kingdom of God has come near to you.”
Jesus didn’t wait for people to come to him – though many did seek him out. Jesus entered this world uninvited and started calling out names. To the man in the tree- come down, I’m going to your house. To the woman at the well- will you give me a drink? To a couple of fishermen and a tax collector – follow me. In other words, “The Kingdom of God has come near to you.”
We didn’t feel like God was telling us to hit people over the heads with our Bibles or hand out pamphlets describing our faith plan. We felt like God was simply saying to us, “Go where the people are. Live with them. Get to know them. When they ask, offer healing, kind words, wisdom and love. Take my kingdom – a kingdom of hope and of second chances – to the people who want it, but have no one to offer it to them. Go.”
So we go to Bob Evans for church. We have yet to have a spiritual conversation. In fact, though we have been there five times, we have yet to talk to the same person twice – which, to be honest, makes it hard to have a spiritual conversation. Today I was frustrated. We specifically pray for the people we have met at Bob Evans. We specifically began going to get to know people in our community and today – when again we met someone new, and the service was… dare I say less on par than normal…, and the morning sickness hit (GO AWAY MORNING SICKNESS), and I found myself ready to start snapping at people – it really just felt like a regular ol’ breakfast rather than some great mission dictated by God.
When our dear waitress poured caffeinated coffee into my cup rather than decaf and Kris caught my eye and gave me a look that was quickly followed with whispered “it was only a few drops” (and it really was) I decided it was a good time for me to take that bathroom break my dear fetus was begging for.
Anybody else notice I use the word dear when I feel testy?
As I stood over the toilet I quickly noticed the restrooms hadn’t been cleaned the night before and my criticism began to really spike. I began throwing up (sorry, there is just no real nice way to write that), and I began to pray…because when you are pregnant with child number two in two years and morning sickness won’t leave you alone, you pray a lot while throwing up. Usually my prayers during this really special time are, “God please don’t let me die like this…not like this,” but this morning God spoke to me.
God: “Why are you here?”
Me: OBVIOUSLY FOR THE DIRTY BATHROOM AND CAFFEINATED COFFEE, GOD!
Juuuuuust kidding! Don’t git’ me with your lightening!
God didn’t really need to say anything else at that point. His one question was enough, and all of a sudden I realized I was in the middle of a holy moment. I hesitated for a while about calling it that because to be honest it really didn’t feel like a holy moment. I feel much much more holy when standing in church praying or singing… standing in a dirty bathroom, being called out by God for my attitude, while throwing up and simultaneously starving just felt really, really unholy. I promise you, there were no good feels about it. Yet, it was holy. It was a moment that God set apart and gave me a choice. Was I here because of the Sunrise Skillet and sub-par decaf coffee, marvelous bathroom experience and making lots of friends or was I here because I had asked God to lead me that morning where he wanted me to be and to meet the people he wanted me to meet? Immediately our waitresses’ picture came to mind – her tired, frazzled, a wee bit unkempt (but hey, no judgement…I didn’t even shower today!) appearance. No, I was here for her. I was here to pray for her…whether she knew I was praying for her or not. I was here to offer her kindness, show her grace and treat her as Jesus would have treated her.
But then, in an instant, I realized I wasn’t just here for her. I was here because God was using that moment to transform me. He was scrubbing away my critical spirit and replacing it with a graceful one. He was making me look more like himself… Holy moments.
I guess you could say that the Church of Bob Evans was pretty successful today.