Sunday, January 4, 2009

Come to the Table

I attended an awesome meeting yesterday and have been pondering why the presence of God is almost always so real at Aglow get-togethers.

I have always had a particular interest in what are currently referred to as “parachurch” organizations. Groups such a Promise Keepers, Aglow, Stonecroft Ministries, Tres Dias, etc. One site defines these groups this way: “Within the context of the broader Christian church, a parachurch organization can be the means to allow Christians from different denominations to come together in pursuit of a common objective.”

Experience is a big part of my commitment to these groups.

I experienced a return to a personal relationship with Christ and my first Bible Studies as part of the ministry of Christian Women’s Clubs (Stonecroft Ministries). It’s been years since I‘ve been involved, but we used to carefully plan “parties for non-Christians”. A place where women would feel welcome and loved, not judged. It’s also where I embraced their very biblical motto: “In essentials unity, in non-essentials charity, in all things to glorify Christ.”

Another reason I have always loved these types of ministries is that I think that heaven will be full of Baptists and Catholics, Pentecostals and Episcopalians, every tongue, tribe and nation - all worshipping together in one accord. Thus it appeals to me on this side of heaven too.

I also know that when people participate in these get-togethers, they are there because they choose to be there. Whereas, church goers are often in attendance because of habit, obligation, religious tradition or any number of reasons. Which makes it harder for the worship team and harder on the pastor to break through the attitudes and barriers so that God can move.

The best comparison I can come up with is that it’s like the difference between a family meal at home and a special dinner occasion.

Church can be like a busy family mealtime. Some people are in a hurry, some are not; some are mature, some are not. There’s a little bickering and not everyone likes the meal. But we’re a family and it’s real. Love is the firm foundation.

The parachurch meetings can be more like the special dinner in a lovely setting to celebrate an occasion with loved ones. It’s special and wonderful but part of that comes from the fact that it’s not part of our routine.

I want both types of meals! If we keep coming to the table, we will indeed get fed. And I’m not talking about cookies today.


sara said...

Great post, Beverly! I totally agree!

We had the most wonderful Christmas eve service this year. My husband invited several small local churches around us (ones that didn't have Christmas eve services) to come worship with us. We had several different denominations and was wonderful!! Worshipping along side each other.... truly heaven on earth!!

Edie said...

I love this Beverly, and I so agree with you. I have attended several Women of Faith conferences and have said that it feels like a little taste of what it will be like when we get there. Just like you are saying here. Many different backgrounds with one heart to worship the Lord. It is so refreshing.

Greg C said...

What a great analogy. I hear so many men boasting about attending Church but I know they are only there because their wives make them go. I am sure there are many other reasons why people go too.

Krista said...

Absolutely, Beverly! Thanks for your thoughts!

While I enjoy being a part of my local church body, I absolutely love to be involved in organizations that allow me to meet believers from my community who attend different churches. We are ONE body of Christ, and I cheer every time I see an example of us BEHAVING that way!