So we visited a friend's church yesterday. Josh wanted to talk with their worship team as he is going to be working with them on some recording projects. So what better way to get an idea on their needs than to see them "in action" and also have the opportunity to worship with some new Believers.
It was a smaller church than ours, but in a way......I loved the feeling of family that was felt as we walked through the door. You could tell that everyone knew everyone, it almost felt like a huge family reunion. I like that. Even their announcements included shout-outs for members who were celebrating birthdays that week. very cool.
After the announcements, there was a short intermission for people to "welcome others/mingle". Because everyone was part of this family, our family def. brought attention to ourselves as we were new-comers/visitors and were greeted by many wonderful people. There was just simple small talk with introductions, where we were from, and then *that* question.
The question that I never know how to answer.
What church do you go to (well of course I know that answer) but more so..... what kind/denomination of church is it?
I get asked that often and always feel like I am not answering it correctly, because I don't think I ever really thought about putting a "label" on what kind of Christian I am or what kind of church I attend.
I am pretty sure the church we go to is a charismatic Pentecostal church. Does that sound right?
Here is the faith statement from our church's website (I took out the supporting Scripture references)
- We believe in the salvation of sinners by grace, through faith in the perfect and sufficient work of the cross of Calvary, by which we obtain remission of sins.
- We believe in the importance of water baptism by immersion, in the Name of the Eternal Godhead in order to fulfill the command of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We believe in the creation, test and fall of man as recorded in Genesis; his total spiritual depravity and inability to attain Divine righteousness.
- We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of men, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, very God and very man.
- We believe Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day, and personally appeared unto His disciples.
- We believe in the bodily ascension of Jesus to heaven, His exaltation, and personal, literal and bodily coming again the second time for His Church.
- We believe in the salvation of sinners by grace, through faith in the perfect and sufficient work of the cross of Calvary by which we retain remission of sins.
- We believe in the importance of water baptism by immersion in the Name of the Eternal Godhead in order to fulfill the command of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a real experience at or subsequent to salvation, with the Scriptural evidence, namely, speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.
- We believe in the operation of the gifts of the Spirit as enumerated in I Corinthians 12-14, as manifested in the Early Church.
- We believe in the Spirit filled life, a life of separation from the world and perfecting of holiness in the fear of God expressing the true Christian faith.
- We believe in the healing of the body by Divine power, or Divine healing in its varied aspects as practiced in the Early Church.
- We believe in the table of the Lord, commonly called communion or the Lord's Supper, for believers.
- We believe in the reality and personality of the devil and eternal judgment in the lake of fire for the devil and his angels.
- We believe in eternal life for the believers , and eternal punishment for the unbelievers.
So here is what I wonder. My friend's church is an Assembly of God and from the preaching style/message, it seemed to be on the same page with what we have always been used to, only on a much smaller scale. Now I know, of course, that I didn't get to find out if they have the same exact beliefs with just this one time visit. But this pastor's message was great and the bonus was that we got to partake in Communion!
So here is where I am at; there are so many Christian faiths out there.....I have friends who are fundamental Baptists, Jehovah Witness, Methodist, Lutheran, Protestant, and Catholic. There are Word of Life churches, Assemblies of God, Worship Centers, Calvary and Bethel churches. What separates us all???
I have always said that I never claim to know it all......in fact, I am learning every day. All I know is that I love Jesus with all my heart and soul. Maybe I'll get corrected (please be gentle!).....with what I am about to share; but I am not so sure how much emphasis needs to be on what name tag we wear when it comes to being a Christian. I think it is more about taking Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and when we truly have Him *in* us.....our beliefs, actions, etc should follow according. It is SO not about religion......it's about our relationship with Him first and foremost.
I also know that God wants us to be joined in the body of Christ...the church is to be His bride. So how do you know you are in the "right" one?
I guess another reason why this is on my mind, is because I caught the tail end of this preacher who was on TV yesterday morning and he had a picture displaying many churches with arrows pointing to Heaven in the center. But he was talking about how we are misled in thinking that all churches/faiths are probably not going there. He referred to Noah and his ark being the only One way but more implied that his church/faith was the only way. Not sure if it was him that was more frightening or his message? (please don't ask me who it was.....not only is my short term memory blown to shreds....but I don't want to turn this into a bashing session on any faith/preacher/etc)
So my question to you.....how do/would you answer when someone asks what "kind" of Christian are you and/or what "kind" of church do you attend?
Looking forward to all that you can share with me......
Thanks in advance!