What is Church?

Church is a basement of three-year old’s making crafts in tiny chairs at tiny tables. Learning about the flannelgraph Jesus that wants to move into their hearts.  Church is one three-year-old in that crowd saying,  “Yes.  I want Jesus in my heart, flannelgraph or not, he looks pretty nice and good and loving. I want him there.”

Church is high and holy, orchestral piano and organ and choir, hymn numbers attendance numbers tithe numbers next to the masterfully centered thirty foot cross behind the pastor with the very loud pastor voice droning on and on and on.  Church is a little girl sitting with her grandmother in the back, feeling loved and warm and good as she hears her grandma sing along, “There is Joy In Serving Jesus.”

Church is camp, where a man up front pleads with children to understand that God is good and wants the best for them.  Church is a little girl feeling the wind of the holy spirit come alive in her chest, awakening her to a new part of God she never knew.  

Church is listening to the stories on wooden church pews at Sunday night service of men and women redeemed. The same stories from the same men and women, every Sunday night, but they were mesmerizing.  Their drinking, smoking, drugging lives turned one hundred eighty degrees to the face of Jesus waiting for them to show them a better way. 

Church is a middle school girl, wanting to belong somewhere, anywhere, drawn in by a man brave enough to love middle school kids and tell them they are important and matter to Jesus. The middle school girl believed and stuck around.

Church is a high school student, in a church van, driving the thirty sixth hour on her way home from Mexico with her youth pastor at the wheel, talking about the ways God could use her and how to prepare for a life of service, when all the girl wanted to do was stay in Mexico forever and give the rest of her life to the people in the small villages in the faraway places no one could see.  He said preparing was probably necessary, and so she agreed.

Church is Africa. Waking up and sitting on the green hills, listening to the song of trumpets floating over the hills, echoing hymns at the break of day.  Church is natures harmony in Africa, alive in the people wo love God there.  

Church is awakening to love for another, giving love back to teenagers that was so freely given to her. 

Church is giving and receiving holy communion, men and women streaming in multitudes toward Jesus and his love.  

Church is the women in India, surrounding a young woman as odd to them as an alien from the moon, praying love into her soul, praying strength and hope and joy and the power of the one true God they knew so well.  They showed the woman their strength, and she was never the same.  

Church is holding her three daughters hands in the throngs of marketplace chaos and color and smells of curry and spice and cooking oil, smiling with them, as they embrace God’s people in their hearts and see and know and feel what real love is when they reach across the globe again and again and again to love those who need love, serve those in need, awaken joy in the lives of those in distress.  

Church is Jesus on a regular street in a regular town in a regular way, waving and loving and hugging the lives of the ones around the woman and her regular house and regular ways. Church is listening to her neighbor, ancient and near her end, tell tale after tale after tale of her long adventurous life, how traveling the world for decades brought her home to the feet of Jesus.

  Church is Her love awakening to the beginnings and endings of all things new and old in the ways of Jesus in the living and breathing regular people and regular life around her.

Church is stories around the table.  Church is the love alive in the eyes of the ones that come to her home to love and be loved.  

Church is all things right, pure, noble and good.  Church is fair and right and equal and alive.  

The Church of Jesus will prevail. Love and hope and light and strength are his and theirs when they share the nobility of serving neighbors in a world feeling darker by the day. 

Gratitude this Good Friday

I’ve been a part of one ministry or another since I was 14 years old. I’ve been around the world a few times and eaten lunch with a president of our nation and a First Lady of another. Ive sat with the worlds most influential Christian speaker-author of our day, chatting in his living room. We’ve been a part of a huge mega church, and then another. I’ve been there, done pretty much all of “that”.

But… sitting in a living room with a few dozen of the KC Underground last night, worshipping, praying and remembering Jesus together was “it”.

God with Us. God among Us. God on the couch , to my left and my right as I sat wedged between Hannah and my Belle, gifted and anointed worshippers of Him.

God In the hearts and voices of True words echoed from genuine to generation. Spoken words shared by people of faith in other living rooms on the other side of the world.

My heart is overflowing with gratitude this Good Friday.

Thank you, amazing people. God is with Us. Who can be against us?

Join Us in the Underground

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What would you say if I told you that a few years ago the subject of Rob and I planting a church together came up and I absolutely hated the idea? I really did.  The reasons for me not being crazy about the idea were legit.  Both Rob and I had been through the toughest season of our lives and were sort of staggering, regaining our footing.  After some time to rest and recalibrate, we were feeling much stronger, much better together.  Rob casually brought it up to me one day, “What do you think about planting a church together?” My quick answer, “H*ll No.”  For real.  I was healing, no doubt, but no where ready to take up that responsibility.  I was overwhelmed with being a mom to three teenage girls, all wonderfully spirited, busy schedules, and all of the ins and outs of what it means to be a mom to three teenage girls and everything that goes along with that all at once.  I honestly had never enjoyed my girls and their friends more, they continue to fill me with deeper joy and love I could have ever known without their precious lives.  I was maxed out with the demands of daily living, dealing with a chronic disease and still trying to focus on regaining my physical and spiritual strength.  All the while, I knew it was to be.  Rob and I have been in ministry together since we were in high school.  Our hearts were united around the cause of knowing Jesus and making him known.  The shape of what we have done for that cause together and separately has changed, but the core of our heart’s belief has not.

And then suddenly,  I was struck with a resoluteness that God had a plan for us in this city and our community for a new way of doing church.  When I started to think about it, the more I thought about it, the more I knew it was right, and it was time.  As deep as my resolve was to not want to do it, the peace I had knowing this was God’s plan was as all encompassing as I have ever known God’s peace to be.

Rob and I have been married almost 26 years. We’ve been around the world and back together, literally and figuratively, several times and more. I couldn’t be more excited about this next season of life together as we join a few friends and start a church together.

I love God. I have compassion for his people, especially those who live around the edges, a familiar place to me. Rob is a phenomenally gifted leader. The team around us are jumping in just as intently and passionately as we are.

KCUnderground will be a church for those who are lovers of Jesus and lovers of people. We are so excited who joins us in this movement and what God does in our city. This weekend dozens of people will sign on the dotted line and commit to join our Core Team as we lay the foundation for the Underground.  If you live in the KC metro area and are interested, check out our KC Underground website and see if this way of doing church and living life is for you.

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This amazing team of leaders would love for you to join in.

 

Peace to you.  More to come…