iBelieve in Church Family

For years, 11 years to be exact, my church family has been an extension of my family. I've wept on their shoulders, confessed my sins, shouted praises, and prayed alongside them. I've witnessed miracles and heartbreak. I've seen ministers come and go.

I don't see how people go through tough times without a church family. In times of need, fellow church members have come out of the wood-works to support and help their family. There is no bond that ties greater than the bond of Jesus Christ.

For those of you who have a church family, you know that feeling that i'm referring to. That uplifting sensation you get when you're around a kindred spirit. The Holy Spirit uses fellowship to band-aid our wounds. Laughter is often His medicine... by way of a fellow Christian.

With all that being said, I do believe there are a few things missing from the present day church family.

iBelieve that church families should be more real with each other.
We need to confess our sins in a more public manner. "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed...." (James 5:16). We are encouraged to confess our sins to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Why don't we? It's scary, duh! We sin in ways that are dark and disguised; we do not want our shortcomings to be poured out to our church family. We've worked so hard to live in a way that they think we are perfect, for crying out loud. iBelieve that it would take one person, ONE PERSON, to start a season of confession, and we'd all be on our face confessing our sins. Can you imagine the snowball effect of public confession of sin? Freedom from guilt, encouraged repentance, sins surfaced, kindred souls, deep fellowship and encouragement, praise to Jesus for saving us from sin, an out-pouring of love... My goodness. Why are we not doing this? Oh yeah... we're scared. Scared of judgement. Scared of what people will think. Not what Jesus would think, what people would think. iBelieve that if I stepped out and confessed my sins, it would feel good. It would be uplifting. iBelieve there would be those who would judge me. Why do I care so much? I need to confess my sins publicly. I need an environment that welcomes confessed sin. Bottom Line.

Casting Crowns, 
Stained Glass Masquerade
Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong

iBelieve that church families should accept diversity. 
Skin. Hair. Eyes. Habits. Personalities. Disabilities. Abilities. Styles.
Here's my predicament, {this is my blog so I'm being 100% transparent here} I don't worship at my church. Not during corporate "worship." We sing old hymns that I can barely pronounce some of the words, and I don't understand the context. Some of our hymns are from the 90's, but that's as recent as it gets. Unfortunately, when i'm trying to translate the words that I'm prompted to sing & "worship" to, I get distracted. It may be Satan, it may justified, it may be my own ignorance. Bottom line is, I don't worship. I don't connect with the spirit through songs that I don't understand. My style is just different. I'm Pentecostal at heart. I wanna jump up and down, clap my hands, and shout out loud! Our church family does not accept contemporary music, and has adopted an "if you don't like it, leave" attitude. Now, don't hear me wrong. My church family is my heart. I love them. I'd be lost without them. Our pastor has been great to RJ and I, and we look up to him with the utmost respect. But, i'm put in a really hard predicament. We see no potential for our church to incorporate contemporary music... or even incorporate it in the slightest. I'll admit I have a bad attitude. I'll admit that I may not be right here. I'm not really sure. Bottom line is... I don't worship on Sunday mornings, and that's not ok You can say "if you're hearts in the right place, you can worship to any type of music." I've tried it.

Psalms 150 
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
2 Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
5 Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!

iBelieve in the altar
This part is specific to me, and what iBelieve. For me, praying at the altar is powerful. It represents a level of commitment and importance to whatever the Lord has laid on my heart during the sermon. On most Sundays I feel led to pray at the altar at our church. I feel like the Lord is calling me to the front of the church to bow down and offer my sacrifice of prayer to him. Whether it be something that has been revealed during a sermon, prayer for personal revival, confession of sin, or for those who remain behind me in the pews. I always feel like I should pray at the altar. Like I said, this is personal to me. I do not, though. No one does. I remain in my pew comfy and cozy. Going to the altar is an inconvenience. I have to ask people to let me by. What will people think? {not that again!} Why do other people not feel led to go to the altar, but I always do? That's interesting, huh? iBelieve the altar is a place where church family truly becomes family.

I'm sure if I even get permission from my husband to post this {which i obviously did} that someone will read this and judge. Someone will send me a hate email telling my that my life is not where it's supposed to be with Christ, and that's why I'm not worshiping at church. Or even worse, someone will be offended by this post and not say anything. They will bottle it up to live in a season of hatred towards me. See something you don't like? Let's talk about it. megan.volnoff{at}gmail.com.

I'd love for you to link up an uplifting and encouraging story about a time when your church family supported you during a time of need. Do you see changes that need to happen in order for church families to glorify God? Write it out, link it up here. Am I the only one here? Do you have a rebuttal? Blog it. Link it. Let's go. {please add the button if you do}


MissB said...

Megan, I have know you my whole life. Literally. And throughout my almost 19 years I have gone to the same church as you for about 15 I guess it is. Well I can relate to you with this in so many different ways! I love our church, but clearly you know I have torn myself away from our church.

This being said I agree. I feel like every sin I have ever had is always bottled up inside of me. Which partly is true because again, I have completely turned away from the whole church thing. And I have never really felt okay with talking about it, well any of it... Sins I have made or reasons I just don't go anymore.

Also, I agree with the altar part as well. It makes me feel so much more connected and comfortable like I can leave it all right there. No questions asked.

So I know this might not have been a comment you were looking for but this is what came to might... Maybe this is a cry for help, guidience, whatever it might be I know you will understand or attempt to understand.

This being said, I am glad (although some are not) that you can still be honest in some shape, form, or fashion.

Jess said...

My goodness I cannot tell you how much I agree with you on these....

My husband and I just made a cross country move from California to Pennsylvania for a job he got as a worship leader at a church here in PA. We knew no one. at all. And the people at our church have stepped in as our surrogate parents and grandparents and amazing friends. I don't think we would still be here without them. We'd have given up and moved back home. That family makes such a huge difference.

I think you're spot on with your thoughts on what needs to change too. We're blessed to be at a church that I think is heading in the right directions. But it's still so important to recognize these things and be a part of changing them.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this... It really encouraged me and reminded me of how blessed we are :)


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