Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the every day occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
David and I have really high expectations for how churches should function—and most white, suburban middle-class churches don’t reach them.
They’re filled with good people with good intents who are sincere about their Christian journeys, but philosophically, we have been unable to find a match. This is partly because we’ve spent much, if not most, of our lives considering, carving out and embracing principles of church renewal, which we have seen bring exceptional spiritual life to local churches.
We’ve often realized that for whatever reasons, we are like two 600-pound gorillas sitting in a congregation. We want to serve; we want to be cooperative and affirming. We try to make friends with the pastor and the staff, but for some reason the two of us are just two too much.
I’m guessing that over the last 15 years, we’ve tried to be part of just about six local congregations—one of which was the second-oldest Baptist Church in DuPage County, an African-American church.
One young woman was attending a gathering of people interested in or working in the arts communities nearby. David asked her, “Where are you going to church?” When she replied, “Oh, we love our local church,” David and I thought we’d check it out. And when we discovered they met in the local school where I had been a student from 4th through 6th grade, we were even more intrigued. On top of that, half the people in attendance were college students, and since many churches are losing their young adults, David and I decided we needed to figure out what was attracting so many twenty-somethings to this church. It didn’t hurt that the first Sunday we attended was a potluck Sunday and our new friends (who loved their church) invited us to stay (we were by far the oldest people present). They even introduced us to some of their friends.
This is not a perfect church—the ideal of church they are attempting to achieve outstretches their capacities to achieve it. There has been a recent staffing crisis that has divided and dismayed, as such crises are apt to do. But after several months of attendance, we no longer feel we’re considered to be like two 600-pound gorillas that no one knows what to do with.
Our small group meets weekly, and we are coming to love and enjoy these new friends—an inter-generational mix to be sure—something we have always loved.
Everyone wants a place (or places) where they belong, are welcomed and affirmed. We are just grateful that for this present moment we seem to have found a spot on Earth where there is a fit.
A dysfunctional church can do incredible damage to people that corrodes their psyches for years, and sometimes, if they will let it, for the rest of their lives. A good church, however, one that reflects on Earth the nature of God in heaven—even when that church is not perfect—can give people a taste of that heavenly Kingdom we all long for—even when we say we do not believe.
How intriguing that a casual conversation in a gathering of artists has set us on a path toward finding a place where we belong.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.