This past weekend, I had the opportunity to join in fellowship with ladies from a different church group. I like visiting other places every once in awhile, and this time it was actually a work trip that allowed me to join in on their event. It's an interesting thing really, going into a new church full of people you don't know although I did end up recognizing a few people. I was nervous, and although I didn't make any awesome friends or connections, I was blessed.
You see, an interesting thing happened to me Saturday, something that I almost didn't notice. I was standing in a crowd, singing worship songs with ladies young and old that I didn't know and I was thinking about how I was among a group of believers who had a real love for the Lord and were wholeheartedly praising Him. And there was an almost inaudible whisper in the back of my mind that said, "Huh. Who would have thought?"
I think sometimes we as Christians in a sense forget that there are believers in other churches who love God and serve Him in the same way we do, or even more. Yes, you may go to different churches and the people may look different, may worship differently, read a different Bible translation, have a different order of service or may hold to doctrines we don't agree with. But when it comes down to it, they serve the same God, preach the same Gospel, are saved by the same blood and will be going to the same heaven as you. And here we are sitting among them and are somehow almost surprised.
Maybe this post makes me sound very critical. And if I were to be honest, I'd have to admit that I can easily be critical of other believers. It's easy to separate ourselves from other groups or churches, failing to realize that they're Christians just like you!
But I gleaned a lot from worshiping with a different group. I laughed and cried along with others as we listened to the guest speaker share the work God has done in her life and the obstacles she has overcome. I learned a couple of new, beautiful songs, which I encourage you to listen to. They were Jesus Thank You and All the Way My Savior Leads Me, a modern version of the hymn by Chris Tomlin. I can't stop singing them.
I also saw a woman there who I had met earlier that week and I remembered the unusual kindness she had shown me. And now I knew why. She was demonstrating the love of God on her job and it did not go unnoticed. It reminded me how God has placed Christians in all kinds of different places, and how they can be used to show His love to the people that come their way.
I must say I like my church, and for the time, I call it home. I intend to keep worshiping and serving here but I also appreciate what other churches have to offer. I would encourage you not to write off other churches. Don't be afraid to fellowship with other groups of believers, even if you don't agree on all points. You have something special to offer and so do they. It may just be that you will come away blessed and filled with joy like I was.