Glad To Be a Part of the Team

Rachel on stage at Kids Club

Rachel tar and feathering at Kids Club.

Every once in a while, I want to disassociate myself from my “team,” i.e., Christianity. It’s not that I no longer believe it to be true. It’s almost always because embarrassed by the actions of one of my “teammates.” If that’s Christianity, I say to myself, then I want no part of it. (Notice in these moments that I conveniently forget all the times I’ve played the role of BoBo the nitwit Christian, but that’s a subject for another day.)

Fairly regularly, however, it seems like God shows me just how privileged I am to be a part of a genuine Christian community, one that lives out its faith in all kinds of tangible ways. Two recent and related examples come to mind that I hope will briefly illustrate the point.

The first has to do with the sprawling, week-long event that is Kids Club at The Crossing. Now of course I’m biased. Along with the rest of the talented and dedicated Crossing Kids team, my wife Rachel plays big role in making Kids Club happen. But I’m continually struck by how many people, both kids and adults, so thoroughly enjoy that week. I think it has something to do with the fact that Kids Club, for lack of a better way to put it, bursts with life. It’s a week saturated with the vitality of life-changing truth and overflowing with creativity and fun. And it says something significant that so many are willing to put in so much effort to bring it about. More than once during the week I thought about how great it was to see what was taking place. I’m grateful to experience it, and I’ve long since lost track of the number of people (of all ages) I’ve heard express the same thing.

The mud obstacle course: source of fun...and separated shoulders.

The Kids Club mud obstacle course: source of fun…and separated shoulders.

And that brings me to my second example. Some of you may know that my wife seems to be something of a fifth grader trapped in an adult’s body. So it’s not at all surprising that she decided to run through the mud obstacle course on the Thursday night of Kids Club. What was surprising, however, was that she ended up dislocating her shoulder as a result.

Obviously, an injury like that is painful, discouraging, and inconvenient. And yet both Rachel and I continue to be profoundly encouraged by the response it has prompted from the community around us. Immediately, we were inundated with expressions of concern and offers to help. Friends in the medical profession from the Crossing community went way above and beyond to care for Rachel that first night, prompting her to say something to the effect of, “I didn’t feel like crying until I saw all these people here taking care of me.” Co-workers picked up her work responsibilities. People have prayed, sent well-wishes, watched our kids, provided meals, and even mowed our yard. Nor is this the first time we’ve experienced this kind of thing from our fellow followers of Christ, and I’d be shocked if it were the last. And for that, we’re very grateful. In fact, the thought of navigating life without this community around us is something I find terribly unappealing.

Of course, this community ultimately springs from the common bond of Christ. And that’s why I find it so tragic that many people feel like trusting in and following Jesus will prove to be a detriment to their experience of life. Denis Haack, who heads ministry called Ransom Fellowship, has mentioned that he often asks people some form of the following question:

“If you converted to Christianity today, do you think your life would be larger, fuller, richer, more attractive and creative, more involved with the people, circumstances, art, and culture around you? Or do you think your life would be smaller, narrower, more withdrawn, judgmental and negative, less winsome and creative, less involved with the people, art, circumstances, and culture around you?”

Up to the time I read about this at least, Haack said he’d never had anyone answer that Christianity would have the positive effects he mentioned. But  my experience has regularly been the opposite, in large part because of the larger community of people that God has brought me in contact with who sharpen, bear with, and encourage me in a thousand different ways. My life would without question be smaller, less engaged, and less joyful without them. That’s one reason we regularly urge people at The Crossing to invest in following Christ alongside others in a community. And at the end of the day, it certainly makes me glad to be a part of the team.

One Comment

  1. Tessa Glenn said:

    Amen Nathan, AMEN and AMEN. This type of community has life in it that many have never even seen….its so powerful when you experience it….so unique to anything else I had experienced……….this community God has blessed me with has not only saved my life, its taught me to thrive in life……and I want to be on that team too……someone once told me, that those “other team mates” who, tell you God will love you more if you…or God will punish if you….or make you feel unloved, make you feel like your job is to fit in a box and fight against people who are broken and lost……well he said, they are kinda like that old crazy uncle in your family…..they are family and we love them……but Hes still a mentally crazy uncle, so don’t use him as the mascot of our family……I have that crazy uncle, lol…..thank God no one thinks bad of me because of him…….thank God our church does not do what is neat and tidy and boxed in, thank God, we have a community that has loved me more then I ever deserved or knew could exist…..THANK GOD your on on our team Rachel and Nathan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for this blog or post or tweet……..tweeter???…….well whatever its called that you wrote 🙂 LOved it!

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