I would be remiss if I didn’t mention something huge happening in my life right now: we’re moving. With our daughter getting bigger and more active every day, and with a baby boy on the way, we are moving into a bigger place, my parents’ house, the house where I grew up. My parents have shown tremendous generosity in not only letting us move in, but in allowing us to rearrange the house for ourselves. It will eventually be–when everything is in its proper place and everyone is in his/her ideal living situation–a great situation for our family. We can all envision the end goal, and it’s glorious.
But getting there is not all happiness and dreams coming true. It’s work, every spare moment, when we could be relaxing, work. It’s rearranging, storing, or throwing out 30 years worth of accumulated stuff in the house. It’s combining that stuff with all of Gloria’s stuff and my stuff. It’s tough conversations, compromise, and roller coasters of emotion. But it’s going to be worth it. Isn’t it?
My wife and I both realized something today. In the middle of all this work we’ve been doing, for the sake of our family and our future, we were missing each other. When we’re not boxing things up or cleaning or assembling furniture, we’re on Pinterest looking for decor ideas or on YouTube researching the best way to paint baseboards. We’re not connecting, and suddenly things fade to meaninglessness. What’s the point of preparing a house for the ones I love, when I’m not connecting with the ones I love?
Has church become like this? Have we become people so caught up with the burdens of establishing and building and maintaining “church” that we often miss the very ones we exist to serve? I think many times, for myself included, the answer is yes. If “church” means just the programs, meetings, and events a religious organization does, then yes.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe there are a lot of golden hearts with big dreams and pure intentions for building church congregations that impact communities, welcome people, and change lives. Not everyone who works for a church is a hypocrite or pervert or potential cult leader.
But I feel it. As a person of position within our modest but growing congregation, I know I miss people. Sometimes I miss them unintentionally, just too busy attending to the work of making “church” happen. What scares me, though, is knowing that sometimes I miss people on purpose. I’m too busy even for a handshake or a hug or even a smile, and I avoid people. What’s wrong with me? I’m absolutely positive Jesus never felt like this, like he was too busy to connect with people.
I believe in quality, in giving my very best, to the church. I believe this because I believe the church is not the place, it’s not the programs, and it’s not the organization. The church is the people, God’s people. And I can’t escape the conviction that if I’m missing the people, then what’s the point?