The Feeling You Get
Leading up to Grace Church's 25th Anniversary, we are counting down the days by posting 25 blog posts in 25 days by 25 authors (well, 24... Dave wrote twice)! The post below is one of these posts. Need tickets to the 25th Anniversary celebration at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on September 11, 2016? Get tickets here: gracechurch.us/25.
BY MELODY BOYER, 146th STREET CAMPUS PASTOR
You know how you have those crazy moments in life…where you say or think something and as a result, your future is forever altered? You know the ones: The I want to marry this person…change my career…go on that missions trip…start a family…act on my calling moments. I had one of those - fourteen years ago – exiting the parking lot of Grace Church.
My husband and I visited Grace for the first time with family members who attended. After service, I remember looking back at the building as we pulled onto 146th St and saying, “I feel like I could work there one day.” At the time, we were involved at another church and continued worshiping there. But, what I had felt and said haunted me over the next few months. Grace struck me. I was drawn. And frankly, I was called. SOMETHING about the people and environment of Grace resonated with me so deeply, I applied and soon after, joined the Grace staff with my husband in tow.
Grace changed our lives. Her people became our community; her vision…our vision. Our children were born and are being raised amongst Grace people. New passions have gripped us and blown to bits “our” plan but drafted out a new, anointed, riskier plan.
Over the next 12+ years, I would see the beautiful people of Grace be stretched, burdened, emboldened, healed and changed. I have witnessed these epic Six Broken Places -- Separation from God, Isolation, Injustice, Hatred, Pain, and Decay of the Earth - fester in souls and prompt courageous acts of healing and hope. I have stood amazed as faces in front of me have literally transform into focused, faith-filled “ordinary” disciples. And I have celebrated with hundreds upon hundreds of people who know what it feels like to surrender themselves to a God they can trust. Some have left us to follow a fresh calling, new faces have come along and reshaped who we are. We are a different people than we were 13 years ago. However, one part of who we are, continues to define us, all these years later. And, it has to do with what I felt on that first visit.
I have asked myself what that something was that drew me to Grace. What did I feel? Why did I feel that way? Best I can tell you…it was acceptance. I felt like I could be me, and that would be OK. I felt a freedom I couldn’t quite articulate. These very same feelings are the most common statements I hear from those who have decided to make Grace their church home. In short, what’s said is this: “I walked in and felt accepted.”
I love this about Grace. I am proud of this about Grace. And I so badly want us to realize the power that comes in extending this type of love to others. I mean REALLY understand it! Often, I am asked what my vision is as campus pastor for Grace Church – 146th St. In essence, my dream is that we tap into, capitalize, heighten and unleash this kind of love on everyone who crosses our path. I long for us to explore the love of God so fervently that His spirit is spilling out to others and so much that the “intangible” atmosphere of acceptance we create, evolves into a targeted, untamable, reckless, warming, disarming love!
When we love like that…we are changed. Souls open themselves to the movement of God. When we love like that…we are acting – truly – as His instruments of peace, as His voice of acceptance, as His unfaltering truth and as His loving embrace. I want us to be agents of this kind of love to this church and this community.
I am raising my hands with you -- breathless, hope-filled, empowered and anticipating the unpredictable actions of a God who has called us to love in this way. It’s who we already are. But it’s also what we must become MORE about. Are you in?