After about a month in Edinburgh, my wife, son, and I finally began our search for a local church to put down roots. In the last month, I have missed being a part of a local spiritual family. I am convinced more than ever that if someone doesn’t care about the church (i.e. the Bride of Christ), then Christ doesn’t rule in his/her heart. To neglect the church or to merely “attend” might rightly be classified as sin. If you genuinely love Jesus, His passions and affections will be constantly growing in your heart. In other words, if you don’t love what He loves, how deep can your love for Him actually be? Sorry Millennials, but if you love Jesus, how can you have little regard for His wife?
I wonder if the youthful infatuation with Christ and the disdain for anything semi-institutional is nothing more than a disguised rebellion. In other words, we want Jesus and the spiritual feelings that can accompany such a quest. But church? Someone that preaches? Or leads a discussion? Or confronts my sin? Or says that certain lifestyles are wrong (i.e. the gay lifestyle)? Or that I should care with my wallet about starving children on the other side of the world? You get the idea. When you are not part of a spiritual community, it is easy to avoid several of the difficult “one-another’s” in the New Testament (the ones that are impossible to fulfill apart from the dynamic power and continual internal influence of the Holy Spirit).
I actually desire to obey Christ, so we are looking for a local church.
We visited our first church in Scotland this last Sunday. We got off the bus in Morningside (area in Edinburgh) and began the 50 meter (metric system! I am adapting and so proud of myself) walk toward the church building. I was a little surprised at what I felt: nervousness.
That is right. I felt nervous.
I was a youth/college/small group/associate pastor for over a decade in Texas and Mississippi. I am accustomed to being a part of staff conversations and plans to make other people feel more comfortable. Now I know just how important those conversations, people (door greeters), and strategies are.
People approached us. People took time to ask about where we came from and why we are here. It was wonderful. I noticed the power of someone making you feel like your presence (not just God’s) is important.
This week we will attend a different church. Our desire is to visit a few churches over the course of the next 2-3 weeks. After that, it is time to choose.
We will not church-hop.
We will not drag our feet in deciding.
May the Holy Spirit guide our quest as we search for good “soil” in Edinburgh.
Thy will be done.