So when I was "confronted" about my views, I was asked what kind of church is this new church we attend, and I told him Methodist... and he said "well that explains it..." First off, my "views" were established long before we came to this church, and represent my personal opinion, not the opinion of any one church - my spiritual growth is one of the reasons we left our old church and came to this one. I feel they fit best with my new-found spirituality and point of view on Christ and the Bible. I know no two people will ever see eye to eye on everything, and the same goes for me finding a church... but I have found the place that I see eye to eye with on the most important thing - positive ministry and spreading Christ's love - not using the Bible to "defend" hate.
I want to share with you what I learned in our Membership class about the United Methodist church, and why it excites me.
"You are a member of God's very own family... and you belong in God's household with every other Christian." Ephesians 2:19
The Mission of Harvest
I am extremely proud to be part of this mission. While I wasn't "unchurched" I didn't grow up in church, and I was definitely "mischurched" before finding Harvest.
Jim had a vision, to "see a tremendous harvest reaped for the Lord in Middle Georgia." He told this amazing story how him and his wife Jennifer were out one day about 10 years ago in Warner Robins, and they were just driving around, not really sure where they were, but stopped in front of a gas station by the Taco Bell off 41 and 96 because they felt God's presence strongly there. Later, they were talking with their pastor about starting a church in middle Georgia, and the pastor told them they already had surveyed a place, they probably didn't know it not being from WR, to put a new church. Jim pressed and asked him where it was... and he told him well it was near a gas station and Taco Bell off the intersection of 41 and 96 in Houston County....
It is amazing how God works. Jim's visions continues - he "wants to see thousands of people won to Christ and discipled. He forsaw home Bible studies throughout Houston County - each group taught by a qualified lay leader."
"He saw a church that is honest and genuine with people. Accepting them where they are but loving them enough to not let them stay that way. A church which does things in an excellent way. One which exalts the Lord by teaching and preaching the Scriptures. A church which equips people by teaching them the Word and helping them discover and use their gifts and talents given by God. A church with a process, a system, and a strategy to intentionally win people for Christ and then help them grow in maturity."
What makes this proposal of Jim's so amazing is that he's doing it. They purposefully dress down and use a contemporary method of worship that is joyful and full of celebration. The music is upbeat and mood lifting - making people genuinely glad to be there (I know from personal experience!) The style of worship is "seeker sensitive" meaning sensitive to people who may not know Christ. "Traditional" worship music was contemporary to the time it was written and sung... the old Hymns ministered to the people of those times. But now different contemporary music is what reaches people of this time.
Harvest genuinely welcomes and wants the seeker, the unchurched, the non-believer to come. And they show it in their worship, their ministry, their sermons, their community groups... Christ's teachings are applied all throughout this church.
I now understand why I felt so much more comfortable at Union Chapel back in Muncie when we went... I now have a better understanding of the Methodist mission and heritage... and it's awesome - it represents Christ. I now understand what God has been trying to show me for so long. And I'm now in a place where I find confirmation regularly. Not in a place where I question my thoughts and the difference of those thoughts from the views of the church... but in a place where I've started learning on my own accord what the Bible really teaches, and the church matches up to it.