We started a series today entitled “Between Sundays.” During the month of May, we are going to look at what it means to be the church during the week. We are not called to go to church, we are called to be the church. What does that look like?
We got to start our services with baptism today which is always a great way to start! After that, we sang, “Burning in My Soul” and “We Are Here for You” both focusing on the gathering and the purpose of the church.
We then broke into prayer groups and prayed with 3 different focuses: 1) thanking God for who he is, 2) praying that Jesus continues to be the focus of North Side, and 3) that God would use Jeff as he preached today. I know I say this each time we do this, but I absolutely love hearing our church pray together. It’s a special time indeed!
After prayer time, we had some video announcements of some great things coming up in our church family, we read Acts 2:42-47, and we then sang “Unite Us Together,” a song our worship team composed a few years ago based on that previous passage. As we sang the song, we had pictures from North Side’s history as the backdrop from the lyrics. We went from the groundbreaking service up until last Easter weekend.
Then Jeff came up and delivered a wonderful message from Ephesians on who the church is. Jeff is always great biblically preaching on any topic, but when he discusses the church, I feel like I am in a masters class. Each sentence is thought-provoking, passionate, honest, and biblical.
Jeff’s definition of the Church: The Church is the people of God, called to embrace and fulfill the purposes of God, equipped and sustained by the power of God.
If you didn’t get a chance to hear it, please watch it below. The thoughts on church consumerism and competition are very powerful. It is a powerful message through and through.
At the end of the service, we sang “I Need You to Survive” on how the church is supposed to care for one another. I love this song, but it was just powerful for me to sing it with people who I feel exemplify the truths of this song.
Since church is a family, I was really impacted by thinking of the implications of this dynamic. Jeff had mentioned that you don’t leave a church over frivolous things. He used the illustration that he’s not going to leave his wife because another woman’s cornbread is better and he’s not going to leave his church family because one element is better than someone else’s. That’s not the church.
Living in the Bible Belt, I watch people change churches all the time. Most people will change a church because they don’t like music, they enjoy preaching better somewhere, or some tiny detail is irking them. It is the kind of stuff that will cause them to leave their new church one day.
But then I also have seen when people leave a church for a meaningful reason, even though it is still a hard call!
So, when is a good time to leave a congregation? I don’t know if there ever is a “good” time. It is unfortunate even if you ever have to consider it.
I believe that the only time I would consider leaving a church is if the congregation was moving away from the Bible in teaching or in practice. Change the music, change the building, change the curriculum, change whatever detail you like, but that won’t make me leave. I would leave if Jesus was no longer the center of the congregation. If the people became the center and they allowed their preferences and desires to get in the way of the truth of God. I wouldn’t risk the chance of my faith or my family’s faith being watered down to put up with selfish tendencies that attempt to rob God’s glory.
Just thoughts today that I am processing after the message. I want to continue to love Jesus and his Church more and more by the day.
If you are not committed to a local church and you have been joining us at North Side, I want to ask that you consider talking with Jeff tonight at Connect. There is no pressure, you can just come and get more information. But don’t waste a day not being the Church!