For the past seven years of leading worship, I’ve also been on our church’s Ministry Team committee. Composed of all the leaders of each ministry at Westmark, we meet about every other month. Most meetings consisted of an assessment of where each ministry was headed, what events were going on and as a committee, we existed to schedule events together in order to avoid a significant amount of overlapping. Our new pastor is thankfully taking it to a new level, a little of which I posted about here.
So, our next assignment, received via a reminder email this morning:
I had asked you what made you who you are in the areas of your head, heart and hand. To be more specific –
· How/where did you learn what you know about God and Christianity (head)?
· What shaped how you think and feel about God and church and ministry (heart)?
· How did you learn to do what you do in serving others, particularly in your area of ministry? (hands)
· Discuss what is important for children, students, young adults, young parents and beyond to know, feel and do as followers of Jesus Christ and beginning to assess how to get them there. With that, to also assess if there are areas where ministries overlap and where there are gaps between our areas of importance and areas of practice.
So let’s explore the first, shall we?
How did I learn what I know about God and Christianity:
Mostly through study. Of the Bible, of books by respected and unrespected authors, by listening to sermons, by feeling music written by those who’d been where I was and was going to be, by sharing myself with others, by watching my fellow humans – their behavior, words, emotions. I study, study, study and with so much more left to learn it’s intimidating to know how many books on my bookshelves I have left to read (and that just of those I can afford to buy, not even counting those I can’t! But honestly, I only learned what I know because God allowed it. When my heart was finally open to hear and learn about who he is, he took me and ran.
Where did I learn what I know about God and Christianity?
In classes is where it began for me. That’s where I learned the facts, the basics, the theology, the history. But it was in the relationships with others I began to see God’s wonder. It was through art that his majesty was revealed to me, it was worship where I saw myself to be who I was created to be, it was through the words of friendship and family love I learned who God is. Why? Because each person is a reflection of God. He created them and every person I meet knows something I don’t know but need to know. It’s my job to learn from them.
“Where” is a word that has no limit because God has no limit. While I admit I didn’t learn much about him in church as a grade-schooler or teenager, he was still there. At that point in my life, I was simply struggling with the idea that God could even exist at all despite what all my Sunday School teachers told me. I had no rock-hard evidence, no solid proof offered to me. And when I asked God for it in those juvenile ways we all do: “God if you exist, will you move that piece of trash in the street?” and he didn’t come through I thankfully never wrote him off. What I learned years later was that God will prove his existence to my heart in order for me to “get it”. It may not be that way for everyone, but for me I only knew God existed when he changed my heart, not when he moved a piece of trash. The church did not teach me. Though I have fond memories of my Sunday School, Bible School and Youth Group days, and while I did have scarce encounters with God through these venues, I learned nothing profoundly deep at that time in those places. To be honest, I didn’t even know what the word “salvation” meant until a professor asked point blank in a class what the most famous verse of salvation was recorded in scripture. When I didn’t know the answer, that was when I knew the church failed me, or I had failed at that education. I attended Sunday School my whole life and never knew until I was 19 years old. There is something wrong with education in the church today.
Huh. I didn’t expect that to come out of me, and I’m not even done. (And I thought I could get through one a night.) I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and read what I just wrote. It always looks different in the daylight.
What I’m listening to: Ginny Owen’s Live from New Orleans
What I’m reading: The Leadership Baton by Rowland Forman,Jeff Jones, & Bruce Miller