Show Us Your Life Friday

Friday, April 01, 2011

Whatup party people. I would say "Happy Friday!" except I've been awake since 4:30 am and I reek of spray tan, so I don't know if it's really a happy Friday or not. On the flip side, I was treated to a Chick Fil A breakfast and we're heading down to Georgia for Christie's wedding, so things are looking up.

{I would typically say, "Things are looking up!" but it's still too early for exclamation points.}

We're heading to Brasstown Valley Resort in the north Georgia mountains and all of this nasty weather is supposed to clear out just in time for the outdoor festivities tomorrow. I am SO excited for Christie and D.

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So, Show Us Your Life. I haven't done one of these in forever, but when I saw that it was Show Us Your Church, I couldn't resist. I don't know if you can tell or not, but I've been pretty excited about our new church lately.

For the past five years, we've been involved with McLean Bible Church's young adult ministry, Frontline, and learned from great teachers like Lon Solomon and Todd Phillips. For the first few years, I LOVED it. The worship and the speaking was phenomenal. I remember telling Tyler, "I will cry when the day comes that we're too old to go to Frontline." But very, very slowly things began to change...not so much with the church but with us. The church's campus is quite a haul for us and Frontline services are in the evening, which we gradually lost motivation to drive to. We started attending morning services, which were nice but catered to an older audience. Then there was some controversy with my favorite worship pastor, who resigned...and then our favorite teaching pastor left {much later and completely unrelated}.

{Hear me out, we were in no way attending Frontline to worship at the feet of a teaching pastor. But we decided to take the opportunity to look around...}

Our first experience with National Community Church last summer ended with mixed reviews. They served the communion wine in VIALS. Little clear plastic tubes filled with dark red grape juice. It totally weirded me out and while I know it was simply a tidy way to quickly disperse the sacraments, I was NOT down with communion ala Angelina Jolie. At all. We tried again in November with much better results.

NCC has several campuses throughout the DC area. It is led by Mark Batterson, who is great, but the speakers regularly rotate to other staff members and campus pastors, like Dick Foth, Heather Zempel, and Joel Schmidgall. I love this approach because it keeps things from getting stagnant and from pastors turning into celebrities. {And I love Dick Foth because every word that comes from his mouth drips with wisdom.}

NCC's central campus is on Capitol Hill, but the "live" service rotates from campus to campus each week and is simulcast to the others {each campus has their own pastor and worship leader- only the sermon is video'd in}, so none of the campuses feel like forgotten step children. The main campus is located in the basement of Ebeneezer's, a local coffee shop owned and run by the church, but the other campuses are in movie theaters. Initially, I wasn't all that excited about a movie theater, but here's what I like about these multiple campuses: they stay small. We sit with our same friends every week because we can actually find them in the crowd. We run into people we shook hands with last week. There are coffee and donuts every morning. It has the dynamics and talent and resources of a large church but in a small church setting. I dig it. I didn't realize how much I needed that type of community on a Sunday morning until recently- I can probably count on one hand the number of times we actually sat with or accidentally bumped into someone we knew at McLean.

Lastly, I'm just on board with them. I told you about the homeless man on the mission trip and the bilingual worship and the diversity of the attendees. But every week, regardless of who speaks, I leave energized and excited. I believe what they say. I am deeply convicted- and moved by it, not guilted. I have found myself listening to the sermons repeatedly during the week.

Last Sunday, Mark walked us through some big changes taking place with the growth of the church. I have been a part of several building and giving campaigns with different churches and none of them ever sat right with me. They always seemed excessive, over the top, asking too much. Or down right irresponsible. But I was totally on board with NCC's vision, their commitment, and what they were asking of us as a church body. God was so evidently at work in everything that it just didn't seem crazy. So much was miraculously provided and paid for that I believe it is part of the Plan. Not, "We're asking YOU to trust God and pay off our $10 million dollar debt over the next five years... And at the end of that five years, we're going to build another church and that's going to cost another $5 million..." Anyway, I know that's more detail than you care for, it was just one more thing that resonated with me and stood out with our new church. I find the longer I'm here the more I discover my true opinions on what kind of church I want to be a part of.

I have never not liked the churches I have attended and they have each fed me and been rooted in the Gospel {And for the record, we LOVE McLean Bible, we just needed something new}. There are a lot of different and okay ways to build and run a church. It just so happens that National Community Church is really resonating with us and waking up an excitement that had fallen dormant for quite some time... If you're in the DC area, there are campuses on the Hill, Ballston (where we go), Kingstowne, Georgetown, Potomac Yard, and Columbia Heights... And if you're unfamiliar with the church scene, you can safely check out the sermons online {The latest series "All In" has been really good}. Just be careful when you dip your toe in the Gospel-- it's easy to fall in. {Too cheesy?}

And good news: there has since been no vampire communion...

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If you made it through that long, picture-less post all about church, congratulations! You're a true, dedicated reader. I had to type this on the iPad, otherwise I would have tried to make it more interesting or make sure the spacing was at least readable but this took entirely too long to type to begin with. {For anyone who wants to know if the iPad can be a replacement for your laptop, I give you a resounding NO!}

SO, thanks for stopping by and reading. Have a fab weekend, I know we will! Wedding pictures to come...

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