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.