It’s official! I did something. I did it with a bit of apprehension and a good deal of hope. Basically, I joined a new church. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but for me, it’s huge. A while back, I touched on experiencing some church hurt that completely caught me off guard and how that was a catalyst in possibly leaving a church I had been a part of in some capacity for twenty years.
About fifteen months ago, I met some people after attending a conference at a local church, and it has changed my life. This new community has welcomed me in with open arms. Some have even said that it feels as though I have always gone there. Despite this, I didn’t want to make any rash decisions or decisions made out of hurt, anger, or bitterness from my last church.
So, I have taken the past fifteen months to learn and grow under this new church’s leadership. I have connected with members on a heart level. I’ve broken bread, celebrated, and even walked through some hard valleys. It has filled my soul with such joy.
Last week, I had a meeting with the pastors and discussed me possibly becoming a member. The Lord literally told me everything my heart needed to hear. I was in awe of His kindness and attention to the smallest details of my life.
A few months ago, this verse came up in a sermon and I knew what my word would be for 2020: dwell.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
Psalm 27:4 (NIV)
With this transition to a new church family, I knew that I wanted this new year to embody going deeper into these new relationships. Over the past couple of years, I have experienced disconnects in some of my friendships. I have poured out in friendship, but it hasn’t been reciprocated. It hurt, and it’s been hard, but I was made for connection. And so are you.
At the beginning of last year, the Lord called me back into wholehearted devotion to Him. That hasn’t changed, but now He is calling me back to deep devotion to community.
Navigating relationships of any kind is not easy, but it can be simple. Here are some things God has taught me that I want to carry into this new community:
Seek God first.
This is key. This is foundational. If our relationships with the Lord are lacking, nothing else fits into place. I truly believe I have let the Lord lead me in this whole process of transitioning churches. I didn’t go looking for a new church in reaction to being hurt. It actually came out of nowhere. When God divinely crafts His plans, there is so much peace attached to it. His leading comes out of those sweet times when we have just sat in His presence and listened to His still small voice. The Father wants to guide us intimately into the center of His will, and all we need to do is listen and obey.
Seek God together.
I am an advocate for the local church, and I love the verse that commands us to not forsake the assembly of the brethren. I actually have never felt guilt attached to this verse as some may have. I have actually been encouraged and challenged by it. No matter what has been going on in my life or in relationships or in the church itself, I have never wanted those things to deter me from gathering with the body. Again, not easy, but I do believe I have been intentional in this area.
Prayer and worship corporately has always knitted my heart and spirit with others. It’s been quite beautiful and powerful. I can’t wait to see how God moves in me and through me in this new space this year.
God created us out of unity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — for unity — one body, many parts.
We all have something to glean from each other, and we all have something to offer one another. May we keep our eyes and hearts open to the leading of His Spirit. He has a place and a people for you to call home.
If you have found your people, I would love to hear about them!
If you haven’t, I would love to pray for you!
God created us out of unity -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- for unity -- one body, many parts. #community #church -@karina268: Click To Tweet