I'm in Kentwood at Panera's chillaxing before the 11:00am service. It does my heart good to sit here with my coffee knowing that someone else is stressing over the amenities of a well-oiled church service. They should be finishing up their first service by now getting ready to retool and refuel before the next "run of the bulls". I wish them the best, cause as for me, I'm going to simply walk into church, greet some searching souls around me, plop myself down in some trendy plastic chair, and take it in like a gluttonous parasite.
All joking aside, I really am thankful for other churches. I love that they all have their own schtick and style. I love meeting with other pastors and affirming them. I love seeing God grow churches simultaneously, none prospering through proselytization, but all reaching new hearts in need of redemption. I love Impact, but I love "The Church" way more. We are but a little blip on the radar, but the church is all over the world...underground, persecuted, mega-churches, house churches, established churches, church plants, hip-hop churches, traditional churches, post-modern churches, drive-thru churches, bar churches, strip mall churches, video-venue churches, internet churches, etc. The list goes on and on...each doing their thing to advance the kingdom.
I may not agree with every model, but I don't have to, that's the point. Some of these models don't work for me, but they work for someone else and that's all that matters, cause all that matters is people finding a place to connect with the gospel and gospel-ambassadors.
I don't have to bash other churches to substantiate my own. I don't have to parse another pastor's pulpiteering. I don't have to casting a dark shadow over other churches in the community in order to elevate my own. There is no need for this tomfoolery. The fact is that "our church" isn't superior to "their church". We are all in this together working like dogs to get the message out. And that message is simple. "We are broken. We need fixing. God is the healer. He is the remedy. He is our redemption." I don't care how this goes public. I only care that it does in so many forms that each person has a chance to respond to God's love in a way that makes sense to their story.
So today I'm going to "another church" listening to "another pastor". What is important to realize is that it is the "same church" insomuch as they are preaching the radical gospel of Jesus. And I celebrate this.
So I will be greeting people as they come to Ada Bible today welcoming them to church. Because whether it is Impact, Ada Bible, or any other splinter that chips off the cross of Christ, it is my church; it is our church...because it is Jesus' church. And that is all that really matters.