Ok…..I’ve been fairly open over the past 24 months or so on my whole church journey, Jesus journey….so thought I would update via a blog post, rather than a mini-series of Facebook status updates…
I won’t rehash all of the ramblings that I have already posted…you can just scroll the blog to find that. I’ll just start with right now, today.
Upon our move, we began visiting churches. Andy Stanley’s Woodstock City is literally just down the road, so it made sense to visit there first……it’s a massive church and is well attended and has programs for programs for kiddos/youth. It just wasn’t for us. Coming from SBC life to Willow Creek life to now…it just wasn’t a fit. We knew instantly. We also made the trek into Passion City in Atlanta. Gosh, it’s an incredible church. Lou Giglio is an incredible teacher, and who wouldn’t jump up and down to the music of Passion Music. Issue-about an hour drive and no community groups up this way. I knew that being in a true local community was one of the things clearly shouted to me as we left Willow and made the move to Georgia. We left incredible friends in a small group and I came to love the entire concept. Did some online visiting of FBC Woodstock and I just can’t. I can’t go back…for a litany of reasons. So…insert some fairly deep research into various denominations. Mission statements, doctrine, social statements….all of it. This led us to visit a very small UMC church. Super sweet church, but we both knew a good women’s ministry and a good men’s group were two things we didn’t feel led to cross off our “wish list.” So, research some more…and we visited Hillside UMC. We opted for the Contemporary service…well…love. The teaching, the music, the people…the size…love. We have visited more since the first visit and this past week actually filled out the card to let the masses know we have been there. Even visited a Sunday School.
Now….here’s some honest words for you. I’m not sure where I got this in my head…but somewhere along the path of life, I began to believe only SBC folks were really saved-if you didn’t say “the” prayer and get dunked-one way ticket to hell for you. Willow undid that for me….and again I say, I don’t know where that thought came from -if it was from teachings or just my messed up interpretation of all of it. I get it that Heaven will be a community of folks who chose to Follow Him…period.
If you followed me on this blog, you have followed me as I just tossed “Evangelical” into the fire pit….and you have followed my rambling, but deliberate process in all of that. That hasn’t changed….that word has taken on meaning I just can’t process. It’s become a political word, a weapon used against others….and I believe Jesus would flip tables all over….and I believe He is rising up leaders in the Christian faith to do just that for Him.
So, Kimmie is falling in love with a UMC. I loved sitting and being part of “All Saints” Sunday. I loved hearing the bell toll for each loved member who passed this year. I loved hearing what “All Saints” Sunday meant…and I instantly had several faces come to mind who had been “Saints” in my life-pouring into me. I’ve quickly come to appreciate the reverence of people doing the “sign of the Cross.” I’ve come to appreciate a congregation that doesn’t expect that of every person there. It’s not just a ritual. I experienced my first UMC version of Communion this past weekend….I am falling quickly in love with the attitude of “for us, in us, through us.”
I’m excited to get to participate in an “Advent” series. My Mother’s family has deep UMC roots, so it almost feels as if I am home with each of them in this journey. So, that’s where my journey is right now. Wanting so much more of “For us, In us, Through Us.”