Church is messy and I think it’s a good thing. It’s not a place. Church is a collection of people who have given their allegiance to Jesus. The reason we all put our trust in Jesus is because we recognize that we are willful sinners, with a lifetime of moral messes, who desperately need a Savior. When you put a collection of people like that together, it gets messy.
Giving our allegiance to Jesus means we are instantly forgiven, loved, accepted, and delighted in by God. It’s just not his agenda, however, to instantly tidy up all the messes we bring. Instead, it’s something much better than that. We get to be his artwork on display. That artwork is nothing less than our messes being transformed into messages of grace. Our church, just like any church, is a mosaic of becoming stories. We are growing to become more like Jesus.
We don’t merely want this for ourselves and for those who’ve already discovered his astounding grace. We want this for everyone. That is in part why our vision is to be a church of all cultures where curious, skeptical, and hurting people love to attend.
Intentionally gathering people from a variety of cultural backgrounds is messy. Intentionally inviting people who are unsure is messy. Intentionally stepping into another’s pain is messy.
One of our values is to move toward the messes. We are convinced that one of the messes we should sprint toward is the messiness of unanswered questions. We take seriously our responsibility to give reasons for the hope that we have.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)
I’m excited to announce to you that we are launching a new podcast. What’s it called? You might have guessed already. We’re calling it Church is Messy. Each episode will be a way to keep the conversation going that was started in the previous weekend’s message. I’ll share with you things that didn’t make it off the cutting room floor. My hope is to help you connect the message of the gospel with the everyday messes of life. And of course, I’ll answer questions.
Between now and when the first episode drops, I want to ask you a question. Do you know the questions that others are asking? Do you know the questions that keep the emerging generation from faith? Recently I was invited to a local school to present the essentials of Christianity to 8th graders. Below you will find the list of questions they gave me. These are their unedited questions. I want ARC to be a church they would love to attend. That’ll mean being a church that loves answering their questions. That’s messy, but it’s a good thing.
-- Pastor Rick Henderson