Today was an ironic day.
I visited my former home church today and sat in during service. The pastor preached on Acts 6:1-6 and about division vs. multiplication in the church.
Essentially it boils down to these points:
1) Division= sinful selfish desire, focusing on what I want/need vs. God’s plan & desire.
2) The Gospel is a message of reconciliation; if WE can’t reconcile, we lose the power of conviction to live this message!
This firebrand of a sermon convicted me as I felt full irony of my presence in the very church I left.
To give some background information,..
God has blessed me quite greatly in allowing me to find a God-loving, Bible-believing church right away in my 1st week in college; thus I never felt such a great need to do the Christian-cliche’d “church-hopping/hunting” in college.
However, I never quite escaped that church-hopping mentality; I ended up starting my migration from churches when I came back home. As I came home to the former home church I attended, I immediately picked up on differences between the home church and my college church. In terms of doctrine, I did not see anything too glaring and I love the leadership. However, the overall tone of the congregation differed greatly. At the time, I said, “I cannot trust this home church to support MY ministry and MY mission; how can I even expect to grow when the spiritual tone of the body is DEAD?”
Today, I come back and now I feel challenged to review what I had resolved.
Today, I visited a completely different church from what I had seen before; this church feels a lot different than the church I grew up in.
I saw so much potential for growth and people’s earnestness to serve others.
But it was interesting; i still saw the flakes, the spiritually dead, the immature. It was a collage of spiritual growth.
But nevertheless, as I visited, I noticed this:
“I am completely different from them.”
And this difference comes down to a cultural level. They are Korean. I am practically a non-Korean [though genetics begs to differ]. These Koreans are into many different things that I can’t even relate. Even appearances can show this; I see many Kpop clones running around, while I stand around as a stereotypical UCSD-nerd.
Extrovert, bubbly Michael finds it most difficult to converse & connect with people at GNC. Although many things have changed in Good News Chapel, what remained consistent is the inability to connect with the main body on a deep, spiritual level.
What are the factors? Maybe it’s because the high-school cliques & social strata still remains; these church-goers were the “cool” people [much too cool for me]. Maybe it’s because of different interests; after all, how many Koreans are into Salsa dancing?
Or maybe, it is the unwillingness to connect. For whatever reason, neither side cares to see each other as valuable enough to even take the energy to connect.
This isn’t necessarily the issue of church-splitting/division. But it is a matter of placing sinful/selfishness above God’s priorities. Perhaps I deemed my own comfort & needs more important than God. Perhaps I placed importance on my ability to “fit in” more than God’s glory. Or vice versa.
In the light of all this, are we Cross-cultured people if we cannot CROSS cultural boundaries to love each other in a sacrificial way?
Forget conflict resolutions. If we can’t connect with other Christians on a deep level, regardless of cultural/etc. differences, can we even say that we are CROSS-centered?
+Michael K (by no means am I bashing a church; if anything, I’m bashing myself. Nevertheless, it’s good to ask these questions to yourselves. 🙂