Recently, I was blessed to attend another church service. This is not a type of church I typically feel comfortable worshiping at. This is not the type of music I typically feel comfortable worshiping with. But I remember sitting there feeling the exact same way I feel at my own church every Sunday. I felt the Holy Spirit there. I remember thinking that God doesn't care what type of church and what type of worship music you are singing. God is bigger than that. It reinforced what I have always thought - there is a place and a church for everyone. The sermon topic that week was something along the lines of "beyond the walls" and I remember thinking that God can really work "through the walls" - the walls of the church aren't important, inside or out.
But this week has really made me rethink that thought. I don't know what I think now. Our church is in transition and people are struggling. I am struggling with their struggle. I am fortunate that I have never "church shopped". I found the church I am in now and have been there for 11 years. It is my home. But things have changed there. My feelings have not. People are struggling with the changes. I understand that. Change is hard. They may be asking how to "stick it out" and when the right time to leave is. I don't understand that. That is my struggle. To me, church is bigger than the pastor. Maybe I am just lazy and don't want to "start over". But also, Sunday worship is not about the sermon to me. I don't go there for a "message". I go for that hour to worship, sing, pray, feel the Holy Spirit and listen to God. I also enjoy the quiet child free hour knowing the kids are safe in Sunday School. I agree with others that worship occurs anywhere and often my biggest moments of feeling the Holy Spirit are outside of church. But I also know that the messages are very important to many people and they need that challenge and that learning through the message.
However, last week, something changed. But the service was nothing special and I listened and left like I always do. But three days later it hit me. His message hit me three days later. It is still resonating in me. Maybe more to come on that later. Maybe his preaching style and his messages are for me.
My struggle isn't whether my church is right for me. It is. My struggle is how pray for those who are struggling with this transition and these decisions. As I thought about what I wanted to write on this topic, I tried to think about what my point is. I don't know if I have a conclusion. I don't know what the answer to the question is - is it the church building? Is it the people? Is it the people? Is it more? There is a right place for everything and that is why there are so many churches and buildings. God is bigger than all of this.