Day Sixteen // For the Love

Dear Church // For the Love by Jen Hatmaker - Online book study hosted by www.imperfectvessel.com

Chapters 22: Dear Church – Pages 161-174

My family is very interested in genealogy.  On my father’s side we are able to trace our heritage back to the early 1700’s.  We have the potential to go back even further, but none of us know how to read German!

We’ve been blessed to also trace back my mother’s side of the family and even meet some of our relatives that live in the town where my great-great grandparents lived.

I find it fascinating, learning who these people were, their stories, and how they established roots in the town that I’ve always known as home.

Each of us are a culmination of stories, not only of our direct descendants, but also of the forefathers of our faith, and the unique and power narrative that we live out each day in our journey with Christ.

In the scrapbook of our histories there are some characters.  Some of those that we marvel over and yearn to learn more about, while there are others whose stories we glance over, but fail to find common ground.

And so it is with our churches.  We’re all family, adopted into the forever family of God.  There are those characters that we eagerly await meeting (prominent figures of our faith, authors, and Christian artists) whose narratives we learn as if they are a part of our own, and then there are others who blend into the sea of faces of the congregation.

Each week we gather together, a mess of stories, counting on another person’s narrative to fill in the blanks for us, to guide us in the areas where our stories seem to be lacking, and where we yearn for more.  Our poor pastors, they sure have their work cut out for them!

As I sit here and struggle to write this blog post, trying to come up with something that will touch your heart and lead you to deepen your faith, I can only imagine the amount of pressure that rests upon the shoulders of our pastors each week.  What a responsibility and a privilege.

“Organizing something as mysterious and marvelous as God’s family is just hard.  I can’t think of a group that requires more grace.” {For the Love}

In chapter twenty-two of For the Love, Jen talks about the responsibilities that get dumped on our pastors and leaders.  She discusses the fact that we overwhelm ourselves with church meetings and groups that we barely have the time to take what we’re learning and apply it to our lives, let alone the freedom to use it as a way to serve our communities.

She begs us all to take a step back and really consider what we’ve got going on.  Sure we’re a room full of messy stories, being lead by a worn and ragged narrative, but there could be so much more than just the current chapter we’re in.

When we are willing to surrender the busy schedules and the responsibilities that we place on each other, Jesus can begin the editing process and write an ending to each of our stories; something so much better than we could ever imagine.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”  – Matthew 16:24-25

And surrendering doesn’t mean that we need to stop following the teachings of our pastors, small group leaders, Sunday school teachers, etc.  It means that we need to begin taking responsibility for our own faith and make something with what tools we’ve been given.

It really is simple—a pure kingdom lived in ordinary ways by ordinary people. Let’s unshackle each other’s hands a bit. Our pastors and churches teach and gather us, challenge and launch us, but no church supersedes you living your beautiful, valuable life on mission. You fulfill an extraordinary role through ordinary means, and no leader or church can do this for you. There is no whole without the pieces. {For the Love}

It’s not rocket science.  It’s just allowing God to work through you. So take the pen in hand and begin writing a new ending.  I can’t wait to see what journey God takes you on!


[row-start]
Bree Blum is a just your average single thirty-something book loving, oil using, cardigan wearing blogger who loves Jesus.

You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Bree Blum
[row-end]

About

Bree is a recovering perfectionist, whose weaknesses include the clearance rack at Target and anything pumpkin flavored. Though she is an introvert, she has an insatiable craving for community and desire to bring light to God’s purpose in the imperfections of life. Read More