I Quit Going to Church

Dear Church,

The past couple weeks have been very tough weeks marked by significant loss for several of our people. David Hoover lost his mom. Darla Walker lost her dad. Millie Anderson lost her sister. Karen Finney lost her mom. And even though none of these deaths would be labeled as wildly “premature” – most of these individuals had lived a good number of years – it’s NEVER easy to lose someone you love. Our hearts go out to each of these grieving families. Please know you are in our prayers.

I can’t always attend every family members’ funeral of those connected to our congregation, but I show up when I can because, as I’ve said so often through the years, and believe with all my heart, “showing up matters.” Fortunately, it worked out for Linda and me to attend the visitation and/or funeral for three out of the four (the three that were local), but the waaaaay bigger deal to me was seeing other fellow-GCers at these various funerals. For instance, this past Monday, at Karen Finney’s mom’s funeral – Karen’s mom was not from here, so she didn’t have a lot of friends here. Consequently, it wasn’t a huge crowd at her funeral. It was mostly family and a few friends but — as I looked around, I saw Karen’s Grow Group well represented. Karen happens to participate in an all-female Grow Group (which probably increases her chances of being cared for in meaningful ways) and they didn’t disappoint. She bragged on how they contacted her, encouraged her, prayed for her and were there for her.

And, just in case you’re wondering, that’s not called “being a girl”; it’s called “being the church.”

I know, generally speaking, ladies tend to be more nurturing and, perhaps, tend to express care and compassion more naturally. But being present in each other’s lives, showing up, expressing care and concern, supporting and praying for each other isn’t about gender; it’s about having the heart of Jesus formed in us and living into what it means to “be the church.”

So, thank you, specifically, to all those who took time to intentionally “be the church” toward these families over the past couple weeks. May your tribe increase! And may the heart of Jesus be formed in each of us more and more and more!

 

Praying for those grieving,

Joel

 

PS – It’s a REALLY good thing to be part of a Grow Group!!!!!

PPS – Showing up really does matter!!!! SO, show up as much as you’re able.