But in a good way.
Tonight was our first official church service in our very own building. For the last 11 years (since we started our church plant) we have been meeting in a middle school - and it served us well. We had a pool for baptisms, a large parking lot, 45,000 square feet of space (maybe I'm exaggerating), huge kitchen, bathrooms with lots of stalls, custodians at the ready, large auditorium....but we also had to set up and tear down every Sunday and two Wednesday evenings a month. And that was getting tiring for everyone.
I'm talkin' church. Real church. Church that is people - not a building.
We sang our hearts out. We shared how God is at work in our lives.
How He is changing us. Softening our hearts.
We cried with each other and laughed.
We agonized with each other and we encouraged each other.
We mourned. We celebrated.
We thanked each other. We thanked God.
God was definitely in this place tonight.
and then, after sharing and communion, we spent some more time with each other -- doing more of the same!
I won't mention any names, but someone tonight shared from his heart. It was very uncharacteristic for him - which made it all the more meaningful. He shared feelings and stuff that most don't have the guts to share. He shared stuff that I have felt and thought -- (but dared to only tell to Kirk). Things like, how he felt like jumping ship (so to speak) and looking for another church -- (like me). How he was critical of the church (like me). But, he really hit a sensitive spot when he started to talk about watching parents with children in our church. Life comes full circle. While he watches our parenting - our kids (as in mine) have a certain amount of accountability to him too. They know instinctively and by his words, actions and investment in their lives, that he cares about them. Our kids know that he is holding them to a standard too! They know that they won't just be letting mom and dad down - but others that care about them. I'm not sure if anyone reading this will "get" what I'm trying to say.....but maybe this will sum it up...."It takes a village to raise a child". I'm proud of the village that has helped me raise our kids.
Church. Not a building - but people.