If my last post (or should I say first post?) sounded harsh or discouraging towards the world or the church, I apologize. I didn't mean to be, I only meant to express some thoughts I was chewing on. I left out the best and final stop of my "beauty contest" train of thought. The one that inspired me to write.
A few weeks ago, I started attending a church here in Rome called Connect Rome. They met in a bar (Matt, to answer your question, I think if Jesus were to start a church, he would probably try meeting in a bar) on Broad Street on Sunday Mornings, across the street from a non-profit coffee shop they oversee called "The Nest" (all the people who work for the Nest are volunteers, and all the money goes toward the community... every penny). Their goal: to make it simple for the people of Rome to connect to God.
They did. And do. During their first year, 160 people came to Christ.
Starting this year, both the Nest and the Church moved to our mall (to be a more family-friendly environment and to get more revenue for the community outreach programs through the Nest). I have attended three of their services within the past couple months (in three different locations, because they have been in transition). They have been the most incredible and God-inspired worship services I have ever attended.
In the most recent service, the Church opened for the first time in the mall. During the worship service, I kept glancing at the doors, hoping God would inspire others to join in. I was so excited I cried. It was worship in its purest form. Pure joy shouted out to the Lord. 6 people out of the 200 or so entered the service unaware of their need for Christ and left saved by his grace. And it was then, in the midst of it all, that I realized... this is real. This is genuine. This is the body moving. And suddenly, I realized that I hadn't checked the time during the service. I wasn't waiting for it to be over. It wasn't just one ordinary, routine hour of the week.
And suddenly I realized how beautiful church can be when its not caught up in a beauty pageant of sorts.
God is moving. He really is. Through you. Through me. Through the body.
There is light, and there always will be.