Recently my wife and I went through a personal disappointment with both physical and emotional hurt. Now this was not the first time we went through something like this. Several years ago when we were on staff at another church, the same thing happened in our life.
What a difference in how we were treated and ministered too. The previous church added insult to what we were going through. There were some who were sympathetic to what we were going through and prayed for us, but not the ones who we expected. Without going through the painful details, at our lowest point, I was basically insulted. As you can imagine, I still carry hurt and am learning the process of forgiveness. The individuals love Jesus but did not show the love of Jesus.
Fast forward to the present. The same thing happens in our lives. The same hurt and disappointment come rushing into our lives. But we are at a different place as well, and the members of Grace Church prayed for us, prayed with us, brought meals, offered encouragement, and were truly the body of Jesus showing the love of Jesus. This is the best representation of the Bride of Jesus we have ever experienced.
The first church loves Jesus and has a vision to become the largest church they possibly can, but at the expense of relationships. I learned that because I was expendable and treated as such. Grace Church has a vision to impact the Kingdom of Jesus – to reproduce passionate followers of Jesus throughout the Downriver Community and beyond (Acts 1:8). God is accomplishing this vision through relationships one life at a time.
So the questions needs to be asked – what is the church? Is the church all about the numbers and we strive to the largest church in town, often times at the expense of relationships? OR is the church about relationships, striving to build true community as we reach out to the community in the name of Jesus? I submit that the church is about relationships; learning, growing, reaching, and… forgiving each other.
Now I don’t have it all figured out, but with God’s grace HE is teaching me and leading me into forgiveness. I am grateful for the Grace Church family and am excited for journey HE has us on as we see more and more people become followers of Jesus and journey with us.