Nashville Scene is our city’s magazine that conducts a reader’s choice poll every year to find the best of everything. There are hundreds of categories, like best park, best burrito, best restaurant with a view, and best honky-tonk (only in Nashville, right?). It turns out that my church, Cross Point, was voted as the best place to worship and has the best church music. I know there wasn’t a category for best church that serves the community or best church fellowship, but for the past four years, my relationship with the church has been pretty shallow – is the worship good and is the preacher good?
In college, I went to church every Sunday. I worshiped, listened to the sermon, took notes, and even underlined verses in my Bible. My experience with God only lasted an hour on Sundays, because I did not attend “Sunday school” or small group Bible study. I went to a Christian university, so why would I need more Jesus time? It became like shift work. Punch in. Punch out. See you next week. I feel like I really missed out on a huge dimension of Church. There’s a lot more to Church than singing and sermons. Unfortunately, I missed out on that for about 4 years of my life.
After moving to a new city, we did the whole “church-hopping” thing, where we tried to find a church that we enjoyed. Overall, we visited about six different churches before we found Cross Point. I heard about this church from two sources: Twitter and Churched by Matthew Paul Turner. We decided to check it out. The first Sunday’s sermon was basically a here’s-what-our-church-is-about type sermon, where the preacher spoke about the church’s mission. The second Sunday, he preached about the importance of getting involved through the connection group ministry (small group Bible study). As luck would have it, they had sign-ups that day, so my wife and decided, “We might as well.” So we did.
Instead of just going to church for the sake of going, we are now in a group with about 10 other couples that meets on Wednesday nights. It’s only been about two months, but it has already been a huge blessing in our lives. If you go to church, that’s great. If you’re involved in a connection group, that’s even better. Our church is big, and I like that, but small groups definitely play a significant role in spiritual formation. If your church experience makes you feel hollow, try getting involved in connection groups. It’s worth a shot.