There is so much energy in the room at VCC on the weekends. I feel buzzed most Saturdays & Sundays.
I know, I know. That sounds corny. But as a communicator, please believe me, you can tell the difference from year to year. And I’ve been at VCC for twenty-four years. That’s a long time and a lot of peaks and troughs. Longer than some of you are old.
Big group energy seems to primarily come from two sources: First, the critical mass of people coalescing around a common mission; there’s some mysterious tipping point that occurs. I’ll leave that to Gladwell and his higher thinking.
The second is obvious: God. And that’s even more mysterious. Maybe that’s e=mc2 at a spiritual level. Mass times the velocity of Light squared.
I would like to think that maybe God finds us trustworthy of His energy.
One day a friend of mine at the Vineyard who was deeply involved in the prophetic/intercessory prayer stream and somewhat suspicious of the “seeker sensitive” movement unloaded an honest confession on me.
Digression: although I would not label us a “seeker sensitive” church, I certainly see why others would. After all, we see the weekend celebrations as more than a gathering of believers to get inspired and/or challenged to do something for God; there’s an attraction/inviting element that is promoted and hopefully created that makes it ideal to bring not-yet-believers. The evangelism/grace-slant that we have is evident, both in the weekly challenge and the atmosphere itself. That’s intentional.
Anyway, my friend—who had been a part of an unsuccessful churchplant—confessed that they stood in the back of the auditorium one Sunday during a packed out celebration, felt troubled and cried out to God, “Why them, God? Why this place?” I can totally relate. There have been times that I’ve wondered why God would use a particular person when there seemed to be so many troubling aspects of their personality.
My friend’s frustration was all about not seeing more obvious charismatic signs manifested. I understand; that’s my background, my roots as well. My difficulties have been around the typical Pentecostal-church-subculture expressions; my theology and experience is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. But I just haven’t been convinced that all the conventional corporate expressions are expedient, or to contextually stretch Paul a bit: “We are allowed to do all things,” but not all things help others grow stronger. (1 Cor. 10:23b).
Anyway, my friend said God suddenly broke through and answered sharply, “Because I can trust them.”
I was stunned. First that my friend told me, because we typically tell stories that make us look good or that support our ministry style.
Then I was honestly humbled that God would trust us at all. I’m not sure I trust me.
Which leads me to another thing that probably taps into the melancholic side of my personality: To whom much is given, much is required. Trust is nothing to squander. Especially when it comes to God.
These are good times. Certainly for me personally. More fun. More challenging in peculiar ways. But somehow more confidently dependent on God. Yeah, that feels weirdly risky…but way more fun than internal politics and five-year plans.
Maybe even oddly rebellious. And certainly ragtag.