I (Heart) BCC
I have been so in love with our church lately. Haven't you?
I know I haven't posted anything in a few days, and I have no way of knowing -- save by a few comments and the occasional "Enjoy your blog" from someone at church -- if anybody's even stopping by here on a regular basis. But I'm going to try to keep the site active, even as I think the primary reason for starting it is no longer necessary. We are still going through, and will go through in the future, some interesting and exciting transitions, and I do know from comments and e-mails and personal conversations, that people in our church still have questions (about all sorts of things related to the Christian life) and still desire connections. So as long as BCC is Broken can serve in that way, I'll keep posting.
Did you attend the picnic two weekends ago? If you didn't, you missed a great time. The food was fantastic, the games and activities for the kids were fun, and the spirit of community was electric. We've been going to BCC for about 9 years, and while we knew a few folks, it has only been in the last couple of months that we have felt truly connected to the people at our church. And I know, because people keep telling me, that a lot of others feel the same way.
I heard the estimate that about 500 people attended the picnic, but it never once felt like hanging out with a bunch of strangers. I don't know how else to put it, and I dare not elaborate just for the sake of propriety, but it certainly feels like a burden has been lifted off BCC. And that's all I'll say about that.
This last weekend in our Conexus group, we did something a little different. Instead of going through the scheduled session in our study (Grace by John Ortberg), we went around the room and shared our "coming to Christ" experiences. In the olden days of churchianity, we used to call this "giving your testimony." ;-)
It was probably the best session our group has had. We even ran out of time and plan to continue at our next meeting with those who didn't get to share. There's a whole separate blog post brewing on my reflections on our time together, but for now let me just say that hearing people's stories, with all the pain and yuck and mess and struggle, but also with all the joy and victory and faith and hope(!), renews my confidence in the church -- in our church -- as the instrument of God's power to save in Jesus Christ.
Hearing everyone's story also does this: It lets you know you're not alone. And one of the flaws that can pop up in churches like ours -- a thing that by design is valued for the "safety" of seekers -- is a culture of anonymity. It is important that people checking out the church for the first time (or the first few times) not feel singled out or cornered. They want to investigate in anonymity, and that's not a bad thing. (Remember the days when churches told guests to raise their hand so everyone could look at them? Or wear a sticker that said "Visitor"? Yikes.) But the trick lay in cultivating a community that prevents long-term anonymity. The thing that was so attractive at first (being left alone) becomes a frustration, because one of the purposes of Christian community for those who want to be in it is to be connected with other believers in the Body of Christ.
Bill West has been doing a great job. He is picking up steam and developing a rhythm. The message topics and main points have really been some great, truthful, powerful stuff. And every week, I hear share a reflection from a past message of his, some bit of truth or wisdom that has affected or impacted them.
I tell ya, it is a scary -- but exciting -- time when just speaking the grace of Jesus seems so revolutionary even to people in the church.
I think BCC has always skirted the line between "including the Gospel" and being "Gospel-driven." It is my perception that we have now crossed, and my hope that we will continue to cross, the line into really being a Gospel-driven church. We are in the process of speaking grace to all generations and doing the hard work, from the pulpit and from the hearts of those in the trenches between weekends, of reconciling people to Jesus Christ.