I promised to tell you about my membership interview at Redeemer Fellowship here in Kansas City. If you’re ever in the area and need some food for your soul, you should come in for service. (They also post the sermons each Sunday if you never find yourself in KC and need some spiritual healing too). This church has changed my life in ways only God can orchestrate and I am beyond thankful.
A year or so ago I was in a downward spiral of selfishness and bad habits. My friend (turned roommate) Rachel invited me to go to this church that she loves. I put her off for several months before I gave in and I’ve been there every Sunday I’m in KC since! I thank God daily for putting her in my life. I quickly signed up for the membership class, called Redeemer DNA, to figure out if I wanted to join a church again. I had struggled, and ultimately let myself blame God for actions of a church in Austin and had been using that as the perfect excuse to do whatever I wanted to…
Part of joining Redeemer is taking the class, another part is donating your time and talents so I began to read scripture during worship services. I love to speak to large groups of people, although I prefer to wing-it and not have anything rehearsed. I actually get nervous before reading when I have to say things correctly and even more nervous if the audience knows that I’m supposed to be saying. I find myself leaning on God to be able to make it to the front of the church without tripping and then pronouncing everything correctly without squeaking. It’s been a wonderful learning opportunity for me when I didn’t think it was really going to be.
The final part of the membership process is the membership interview with one of the pastors. “Membership interview” is really the wrong terminology but the english language (language in general) is inadequate to describe this situation. “Pastor meet-and-greet” gets closer to actuality but passes the cheesy line as well….This is not an interview because there is no judgement on if you get to be a member or not, no right or wrong answers. This is a conversation between you and pastor about what you believe in and where you stand in your life. They want to be able to call you by name on Sunday morning. They want to understand what you are struggling with so they can respond to it. They want to make connections and point you in directions of growth.
My growth came from a couple different directions during the course of this conversation. I was talking about how I’m feeling restless and how I’ve been praying for God to send me in his direction in regards to physically where I’m living, and not about living with Rachel or in an apartment or something else, but rather about what city and state and country I should be living in. We delved into the discussion about how I move around to avoid conflict and deep emotional connections with people – it’s easier to move than to tell someone why I don’t like what they are doing. I’ve been working on this but still have this sense of restlessness.
I then focused on trying to balance my work and my life and my faith. I compartmentalize events and escape them by going to work. If I don’t want to deal with something then I simply have to go to work and deal with something else. I have more control with work. I’m now balancing (most of the time) my work demands and creating space in my life for God to work.
All this space has left me with a restlessness on how to fill it. I’ve thought about joining another ministry team at church but just haven’t had one speak to me yet. Evan (my pastor) asked if I had ever thought about going to Haiti with the church for a mission trip. I quickly blurted two (ridiculous) responses: “I don’t like hugging babies, it’s not my thing” and “I question the effectiveness of doing short term mission trips because they tend to validate the goer and not the receivers.”
Evan smiled, got thoughtful, and told me to pray about it before explaining that this trip was to figure out how the church can me more productive in a long-term relationship with the Haiti Orphan Project. He suggested I consider going because of the leadership skills I have and that it was not all about hugging babies.
So I prayed.
And then I signed up to go on the trip. I leave April 30th and come back May 6th.
This is about glorifying God, loving children, and helping develop opportunities for other people in the church to do the same. This is not about me. This is not about my comfort zone. This is about hugging children because they do not have anyone else to hug. This is about learning how other people spend their lives. This is about listening to God work and move in my life and the world. If I pray for an answer and don’t like the one He gives me, I cannot keep praying for answers.
I ask that you pray for this trip. Please pray for safe travels, open hearts and minds, resilient stomachs, and for this to touch and move hundreds of people to action.