I miss "my" church ( It's not "mine" but you know what I mean).
This morning I find my self in Pleasant Hill Oregon with my parents. We are getting ready to go to church, which I am looking forward to. They belong to a growing Christian Church that is making a difference in their community and even the world. I will be very proud to go to their church.
I like going to churches to hear different preachers, to see how they deal with some of the same problems that we face, and to experience some of the creative solutions that churches in different parts of the country come up with. So going to different churches is fun, and stimulating. I think it is important to do on a regular basis.
But I really miss "my" church. It has been 13 weeks since the stroke and 10 weeks since I started the sabbatical. In that time I have not been back to church services at FCC. I have been around, connected with some people, but I have not been in a service since April 17th.
What do I miss? Well, I miss the spirit of our church. It has always been a place of celebration and joy. Some churches I have been too have not. When that happens, I feel kind of let down. It makes me think about what visitors think about our church when they come. What kind of expectations do they have. ( We all have expectations). I miss the spirit of family as well. Our church, big as it is, is still a family. Lots of talk, hugs, prayer and interaction on all kinds of levels. I miss the worship. I have not found a church yet that has the passionate worship that our church has. Traditional or Contemporary matters less to me than ever. Excellence is important. Focus on God is essential. Connection with the Worship Leader, with the Praise team and with those around me, who know and love me is important as well.
I also miss the time with our staff. They are more than co-workers. That brief time when we pray every Sunday morning is something I have missed.
I miss the end of services when I go to the back and just shake hands. I don;t know how much of that I will be able to do in the future, but it feels so good to connect with people.
I miss not being able to worship next to my wife and kids. I love Pam's passionate worship. I love listenting to her beautiful voice, which exudes love and adoration for God. I love looking down the aisle and seeing my kids worshiping ( when they are in town...Abigail every week). They have gone with me to other churches on occassion. I have encouraged them to go to FCC, because I wanted their routine to be maintained. They have had alot to deal with and they needed their church family too. But when I come back ( In September), I will love preaching, love being back with my family, love the worship... and love being back home.
Back home.... it is not that long... and I am getting ready. In the coming weeks I will be visiting churches in California, Arizona, Texas, Kansas , and Oklahoma. It will be a good tour... I will learn alot. I think I will learn alot that will help our church.
But it won't be home...
P.S- I will be home from Oregon on July 13th. It has been a great visit with my parents... the time at the coast was awesome... Gave me some great time to think and pray.
But it will be so good to be home....