This past weekend I went to NYC. It's my happy place. I love the energy of big cities. The 12 now going on 32-year-old ADHD kid inside of me loves the built in entertainment of train rides, people watching, and non-stop action.
Two of my former students go to college in the city, and over dinners and brunches (it's not a vacation without at least one brunch. It's a rule.), our conversation turned to finding faith in a mega-church less city. As we talked about their journey to discover a church that fit with how they perceive and experience God, I was reminded of the necessity for diversity in our faith.
Spoiler, but NYC and the Flower-plex have a few minor differences. In a city less saturated with the Christian subculture, churches are fewer and farther between. They are smaller, more diverse, and there are fewer options to fit your preference. You might only find one or two churches that seem familiar at all, and in your journey to find a place to worship, you need to try out churches outside of your comfort zone. As we talked about their experiences with different styles and expression of faith, I was reminded of the beauty of diversity.
If you're not used to liturgy, it can be a bit off putting to have congregational chants during a service. Or, if you come from a higher churched background, imagine what it feels like to walk into a church service that you think more closely resembles a concert than anything you would call church.
The simple truth is the different preferences and styles of worship in our churches help us see a complete picture of God.
I love our church. I love how we worship and how we gather, but I also love knowing other churches do it differently. Some place a high value on liturgy, hymns, and pews, while others don't even allow those words to be uttered on a Sunday morning. We all have our preferences, but our preferences point to a God worthy of all worship. As I sat and listened to the differences in churches my friends had chosen in the city, it reflected on a God that doesn't just put up with diversity; He created it, He is worthy of it, and it ultimately gives us a fuller picture of His character. That, to me, is beautiful.