A Transient Church
This church, Pillar Jax, is the most transient church that I have ever been a part of. As of the end of June, we have 48 adult members who have a total of 52 children. And this small church in 3 ½ short years has already said “goodbye” to 30 members with a total of 34 children. And these numbers only count the members. We have had un-counted others who have been a part of this church for a few weeks or a few months at a time who never became members but who impacted us greatly and (I pray) we them.
As we near the end of this summer moving season and begin the fall, I would like to ponder this situation in which we find ourselves- life in a transient church.
Our culture is one of microwave meals, two-minute YouTube clips, and hundreds of “friendships” that are increasingly shallow and meaningless. We get our coffee to go, eat fast food meals in our cars, and are too busy to sit and look at another human face.
But this is not the culture that God would have for His Church. God would have a church where His followers love one another, encourage one another, rejoice with one another, mourn with one another, and so much more. We cannot do this through the status quo relationships. We must push deep. We must know one another and allow ourselves to be known.
The churn of the transient church, if we are not careful, will teach us to callous ourselves against real relationships. When we dig deep, the next goodbye is a little harder; the tears are a little more real; and the hurts are a little deeper. But that is because the love was that much more real.
We must be a people who press into one another in love despite the looming knowledge that hurt is on the horizon and that the laughter of this meeting will one day be eclipsed by the sorrow of a tearful goodbye.
How can we do this?
We can only do this by looking at a horizon even farther out in the distance- the horizon of a new creation in which all our tearful goodbyes with our fellow saints are turned into joyful celebration and triumphant victory. That is how we can press into real relationship.
But why? Why endure the effort?
Because, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:11-12) The world and you and me need to see love because we need to see God. We have never seen God. But if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
Therefore, dig into relationships with your brothers and sisters. Get to know them and allow yourself to be known. Reject the notion that close relationships make a man weak. Nay, they reveal the weakness that is already within us, and they grant us hope to see the only One who can strengthen our weary souls.