Come Holy Spirit
Our first time to Grace I looked around to see a more traditional style of service and congregation. I grew up half of my childhood in a Lutheran church, so I was expecting something similar (a bit more on the boring side), but God was really working on my heart. This had only happened once before in my 30 or so years of coming to church, but I was moved to tears throughout every aspect of the service. It was like God was renewing my mind towards different traditions, and helping me to realize that Lutheran had a flavor like any other tribe or ethnicity around the world.
My wife and I had done mission work through YWAM in over 15 countries combined, and God was helping me realize this church had a culture and traditions just like any other church, poor or rich, contemperary or traditional around the globe. None were better than the others, they just fit our expectations, preferences and styles based on what we grew up with and where ever we encountered Jesus the most strongly. The more clearly we can remember meeting with God, hearing from Him through a preacher, a song, or another aspect of a worship service, the more that place becomes a new home, a place to connect with God and people. That particular Sunday in April, the Holy Spirit was moving me to tears as the service began, as the offering plates were passed around, and lastly we sang the Lord's prayer. God definitely had my attention and I asked Him, "Lord, why am I crying so much during this service?"
“The more clearly we can remember meeting with God, hearing from Him through a preacher, a song, or another aspect of a worship service, the more that place becomes a new home, a place to connect with God and people.”
I sensed the Holy Spirit responding, "Chris, just because this isn't your preferred style of worship doesn't mean these people aren't worshipping me in Spirit and in truth. They are authentically worshipping me and I'm calling you to come and serve here."
Here I am, Send Me!
My wife and I had come to see what the church was like before I applied for the role of Family Ministry Director. That was April 2013. God clearly had my attention. And when Pastor Dan said there were designated people praying for us during the service, that the Lord would encounter us and speak to us, I understood why I was experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit so strongly in my heart and emotions. As Pastor Dan talked about serving as a missionary for 20 years with his wife and 4 kids in Ecuador, I knew this would be a great fit for my wife and I as we recently transitioned out of mission work. And God was bringing me full circle from my Lutheran roots to see that even though I didn't prefer a denomination or want denomination to be a focus of the church, God is still alive and active in all denominations around the world. It's just a matter if we're willing to serve where He calls and lay down our personal preferences in place of using our gifts for the betterment of Jesus' body, His church in our local community. Where might God be calling you to serve a local church family? There's a local church with a hole that only God can fill through your willingness to serve.