I have been involved with many churches in my life, as a child in Sunday School, and Vacation Bible School, as a teen in youth groups, as a Deacon, and an Elder, as a Worship Leader, and as a Pastor.
As a musician, I have been asked to play in a diversity of Christian churches. I’ve played for Oral Roberts tent meetings, Benny Hinn, and concerts with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith. Also, Messianic Jewish congregations, and national conferences for homeless shelters, from nearly all white, to black churches. Some have been formal and informal, liturgical to hipster, I was even once asked to play for the Pope.
Sometimes, I would question God about my placement in a poor church one week and a big suburban church the next. I always felt that God wanted me to see the wide variety of Christians, and be a bridge between the man-made culture walls that have divided us for too long.
At one church, I recall a member coming up to me and saying, that while on vacation, he had visited a “great” church. While he spoke, I wondered if he thought the church he belonged to was “great”. I waited expectantly to hear some reasons why he thought the church he had visited on vacation was so “great.” “They were huge, and had great music.” Those were the two reasons he gave.
Many adjectives are used to describe a great church: Big, many campuses, a great pastor, great music, great teaching, etc.
All of those things can be awesome, and I pray that all churches would have those things, but the Bible describes a great church this way:
“And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.” Acts 2:44
Of all the churches I have ever been in, I have never seen that. I don’t think this is some lofty goal, or unattainable ideal; I think this first church was characterized by this one thing: Vast amounts of extreme generosity. I would love for someone someday to come up to me and say, “While we were on vacation, we visited this great church. They were sharing everything they had.”
I want to encourage you, the way I am encouraged by the great people at our GREAT church! If I could describe The Gathering Church, it would be like this: They CONSTANTLY demonstrate Jesus by the outpouring of generosity they show to one another.
By: Pastor Daniel Leavitt