Two summers ago I drove Dad’s old maroon Saturn up to Colorado for a weekend camping trip with a bunch of guitar-playing drum-beating hippies. The trip impacted my life for a lot of reasons, but one main reason for this blog’s sake.
In retrospect a lot of what I took away was the language and vocabulary for the things that were causing tension deep in my heart. They said things like “The Kingdom is family and God is not God the manager, or God the boss… He’s God the Father.”
You see I had everything out of whack! I was caught up in a culture that was focused on how to “do” church. These people didn’t seem too concerned with how to do church but they really seemed to love the Kingdom of God. I found out that the Bible doesn’t actually talk about how to do church very much at all. Only a couple of times total. On the contrary the Bible talks a LOT about the Kingdom of God. It talks about what the Kingdom looks like and feels like and how you know if the Kingdom has arrived. Jesus seems to teach primarily about the Kingdom and mentions the church only as an afterthought, and one of those times was only to say “I will build the Church” (I… not you! YOU seek the Kingdom!).
What I learned and am still struggling to hold on to is that it really doesn’t matter how we do church. There are a lot of different expressions, lots of different styles, lots of different personalities, and they are all fine!
It’s like that line from an old Delirious? song… “Do you feel the darkness tremble, when all the saints join in one song? And all the streams flow as one river to wash away our brokenness.”
What is important is to seek the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom is family. Family with God as we are adopted as sons, and family with each other as we are brought into spiritual family (better and more fulfilling than buzzword “community”) where we have mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters. The Church and community and justice and mercy and all of those other good things are a natural byproduct of the Kingdom of God establishing itself on the earth. That all happens naturally when we Jesus comes as King in the here and now. The Church operates correctly when it’s not concerned with what it looks like and is concerned with inviting Jesus to come and be King in our city.
I came home and adopted this phrase as a ministry philosophy that I’ve held onto since:
“The Bad Meeting’s Guide to Good Family.”
The sentiment I’m trying to capture is that as I serve the Church I want to put my time and energy into the Family. I want to care about people and invest in people and cultivate relationships that are meaningful. I want to see the Kingdom Family established as Fathers and Mothers start nurturing, and sons and daughters start receiving. I don’t want to fall into the trap of putting my energy and attention into creating a good “meeting” or service. If I happen to have poopy meetings it’s because I’m neglecting them for the sake of deeper relationships. And I’m alright with that!
I’ve always joked that I’ll write an article and so far this is as close as I’ve gotten. There’s probably some kind of 10 bullet point guide I could write out, but I just don’t have the time… I guess we could have titled this post:
“The Bad Blog’s Guide to Good Family”
Recommended reading if you want to dive deeper into seeking the Kingdom of God:
“TOM and the Goldfish Bowl” by Ben Pasley