Guest Blogger: Darrell Vesterfelt

October 7, 2011

Hey everyone.  I’ve got a double dose of blogging for you today!  First up, my friend Darrell is guest blogging for me today.  He’s a super neat guy, so be sure to leave him some blog love here, and then go check his blog out.

 I’m not sitting today out though!  Erin Gabbard won a guest post from me and asked me some of the most random, quirky questions ever.  Go check out our conversation at her blog.  I’ll be back on Monday.

The Church has been a huge part of my story.

I grew up in church and went to school for church ministry.  Iʼve been a part of the leadership team at several churches. Even as we speak I am on the road to be an associate pastor for a church plant called Shoreline in Florida.

No two churches have been the same. Some of them have been house churches, some have been mega churches.  Some have had a young, hip trendy vibe with loud music and charismatic teaching.  Others have been more low-key.

And all had flaws and benefits.  But the values of house churches and big churches are the same.  They love Jesus, worship, serving others and community.

If we can celebrate our differences rather than divide over them, we can stop fighting and arguing and start activating the Mission weʼre called to as the “capitol C” Church.

So what does this mean for you?

Your Church is a Social Construct

Believe it or not, most of the things your church does isn’t because the Bible says so.

This isnʼt a bad thing. Itʼs just the truth. Your church has certain practices and traditions. You sit in pews or not. You sing hymns or not. You have expensive lighting and sound or not.  They are not “right” one way or the other. Worship can happen with or without any of them.

There are some things about doing church that are outlined in scripture, and we should

pay attention to these things. Leadership and values within the church are things that scripture speaks to but scripture doesnʼt value one cultural practice over another.

Culture isnʼt necessarily right or wrong.  Itʼs just culture.

Find a Church That Feels Comfortable to You…but Not Too Comfortable.

It takes work to find a church that fits you.  You have to think about whatʼs important to you when it comes to church? What aspects of “church” are you willing to let go?

Things that matter to you will not matter to other believers, and certain things will matter to other believers that do not matter to you.  But thatʼs okay.  Remember how most of the stuff we do in church isn’t from the Bible?  Yet, that’s the stuff we focus on most.  That stuff is how we decide what church we’re comfortable in.

When you find a church that works for you, recognize that not everything about that church is going to be perfect. There might be elements of the service or traditions that are outside of your comfort zone. Thatʼs okay too.

Appreciate the ways that your church stretches your understanding of worship.  If you are open minded about worship, your understanding of God will grow.

Celebrate The Differences

You might have opinions about how another church does worship. But appreciate the cultural expression of worship they have to offer. Celebrate that they are inviting people to worship who might not ever enter the doors of your church.

When youʼre able to see differences as a good thing, you will be able to recognize and celebrate the similar values you share with them. Churches that worship in different ways can partner with each other in their similarities.  Do we think God cares more about what kind of music we sing or what kind of seats we sit in than He does about the condition of our hearts?

As a multi-personality Christian I am learning to tell a different story about the church.  We need to figure out how to tell the difference between the social construct that we live in and the truth of scripture.

What’s your “ideal” church look like?  Have you had to let go of any “must haves” to find a church?  Have you tried a very different church than what you’re used to and discovered you actually liked it?

12 responses to Guest Blogger: Darrell Vesterfelt

  1. I not only tried a very different church, I ended up joining it and coming to really like it.

    I was attending a very contemporary pentecostal church. It used a lot of Hillsong music and met in a cinema. It ended up becoming necessary to leave that church. Because I don’t have a car I was limited to the small number of churches that I could get to on the awful weekend public transport or where friends that live in the neighborhood and do drive could take me. The one accessible option that was like my old church in style didn’t seem like a good fit for various reasons. That left me looking at churches that weren’t like my old one.

    I ended up at an evangelical Anglican church which is fairly traditional in style. There is some modern-ish music but also hymns and liturgy. At first it was a bit confusing and felt a bit weird. I wasn’t used to things like standing up for bible readings or repeating bits of the liturgy. Communion was done differently. I didn’t know some of the music.

    I’ve come to really like some of the things that were new to me. I’ve come to appreciate how much bible and how many reminders of the gospel are embedded in the liturgy. I now like the different way of doing communion. The music has definitely started to grow on me to the point that I have found myself listening to hymns during the week. The teaching and sense of community are good too. Glad I stuck round past the initial awkwardness.

  2. I’m taking a class called Gospel, Church, and Culture right now, and it’s talking exactly about this. What IS the essence of church that we must find in order for it to be called ‘church’? What can we leave out and still have a church?

  3. Honestly….as long as we don’t compromise the Message of the Gospel…it’s ok with me…

    As long as Jesus is the center of it all…

    As long as Jesus, his life, death on the cross, shedding of blood for our sins, and God resurrecting him from the dead 3 days later is the message that is being channeled through the “stage” or Pulpit…as I call it…

    If this is true of a church and is in their worship and sermons…

    Then I don’t care what it looks like…at all!!!

  4. I am a Bapto-Costal-Matic-Palien. I have been searching for the true Jesus since I met him. I have worshipped in Brazil, Korea, Norway and England. At this point, all that matters is Jesus.

    I have found amazing music that connected me with Heaven in piano/voice, oragan/choir, Vineyard, Maranatha, and some guy on a banjo. This past weekend I was blown away watching a dancer worship to one of the Bethel songs.

    I have been fed the Word by some of the big names, and my 7-year-old.

    I love spontaneous church meetings without bulletins, orders of service – the ones where everyone has the opportunity to participate (1 Cor 14), wheter they are small or large.

    The truth is, I hate going to church, but I like being the church. I am not there to be entertained, enlightened, or fed; I am there to be used by God if He chooses too. I don’t need a position, title, or leadership role… just Holy Spirit. I spend lots of time communing with God during the week in prayer, the word, music, hanging out brooding over the deep things with Abba, and being a friend to the people in my circle of influence.

    All of the religious trappings, whether Biblical or man made, unless they are from God, are worthless. But with God, the simplest act of kindness, an off-key offering of a love song, and the touch of a human hand can change people for eternity.

    Thanks for making me take a look back!

  5. There are core beliefs that should be a part of every group of believers. The rest is all minor things that have nothing to do with our salvation. So work on your relationship with Jesus and let others do the same. Just my two cents.

    • I have to echo what Jason says here: as long as we keep our core beliefs then how we worship is just style and differences that flow out of our individuality. What the world needs to see is the Church unity and love. that will speak most loudly. I grew up in a conservative Baptist church and I have also spent part of my life in the Episcopal church. I currently attend a non-denominational body of believers that is very expressive in it’s worship. I can say honestly that I am grateful to have been a part of every one of those churches. They all contributed to my Spiritual growth! Great comments here….Lori

  6. I don’t think every difference can be celebrated, unfortunately. Maybe most can. The diversity between West African worship style and Texan worship style you can. But for weighter things like Calvinism and Arminianism, I think Christians will find celebrating that too difficult. When a Calvinist and Arminian get together, it’s easy for them to celebrate what they agree on. If they start talking about their differences, it just gets into sharp disagreement.

    That said, celebrating the diversity of the church is a good thing. It seems like God likes diversity, since He wills every language, tribe, and people group to be before Him. Think about that sight! That’s more diversity in one time and place than anywhere else in history!

  7. Just to chime in. I am a little cautious of the “comfort.” I say this because much of our world is based on comfort – at least in the West. Hence, when looking for a church comfort may not be the best gauge. We live in a fallen world, we might feel too comfortable in places where God is not comfortable. In light of this, I say seek a church that is scriptural. With that said, all churches will have its own culture like the post stated. All I am saying is that holiness of worship and preaching is not always a comfortable thing – not to mention your comfort might be a form of subtle consumerism. In addition, when we add race and economic diversity into the equation, usually comfort is the first thing that goes.