Throughout the years I served as an Assistant Youth Director at A Pentecostal church, an Apologetics Teacher at a Presbyterian church, a College/Youth Pastor at a Southern Baptist church, and an Evangelist at an Assemblies of God church.
When it comes to denominations, you can say I’ve been around. I’ve served at both large and small churches. And one thing I can say about all of the churches I’ve served at, they were all very much structured, and they all placed a heavy emphasis on programs and activities.
But where am I serving at now? Let me explain.
In 2009 I moved to the Philippines as a missionary. I didn’t really know too many people there at the time. I wanted a place to serve at. Every week I hopped from one church to another—from large ones to small ones—trying to find a place I could call home. But I’ll be the first to admit, it wasn’t easy.
For several months I attended different churches. I felt like a piece in a puzzle trying to force-fit my way into something.
Halfway throughout the year, I eventually gave up trying to fit into a particular church. Surprisingly, somewhere down the road, I ended up meeting new people. The connection was there. We just “clicked.”
And then it hit me. “Why don’t I plant a church?” I thought to myself. I decided to give it a shot.
After my epiphany, it happened. On May 31, 2009, we had our first gathering at a coffee shop. We did this in the beginning. However, as more people came, we ended up having our services at a radio station to accommodate everyone. It was very informal.
It was exciting! Every week, the radical grace message was being preached, miracles occurred, and believers were empowered to do the works of the kingdom.
One day a friend told me about a book called “So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore.” It was a book about being the church. It literally brought me to tears. It spoke the language of my heart.
I ended up introducing the book to our group. They all received the message. Like me, it gave language to what they were truly feeling inside.
From that point on, we stopped “going” to church. We stopped “trying to do” church. We learned to BE THE CHURCH.
None of us wanted to stop meeting together. We didn’t. And none of us wanted to stop hearing and sharing the Gospel. We haven’t. But this time, it was organic. Things flowed naturally this time.
We still have gatherings where we study the Bible. We still pray for one another. We still heal the sick. We still hang out and eat. We still watch movies together. We still laugh together. We still cry together. We still fight with one another at times. Simply put, we share life together.
No more ministry-based friendships. We became a family.
Quit trying to go to church. Quit trying to do church. Stop trying… and just BE.