During Covid, my wife and I did a few projects around the house—repainted, rearranged the furniture, got new picture frames, took out the fireplace…
When it was all done, we wanted people to come over and just feel at home. It was fresh and new, but not stuffy and uptight. We have a beautiful little house, but my wife has made sure that its beauty is not in being a museum masterpiece, but in being a welcoming place where people just… live.
That’s our goal for the church.
I’m not talking about casual Christianity. Some churches, in the name of loving their neighbor, have removed all formalism, and I think they have taken it too far. A casual environment leans toward a casual attitude, and serving the King of kings is anything but a “ho-hum” experience.
No, we’re intentionally not casual.
But neither are we formal just for the sake of formality. Or stuffy just for the sake of trying to feel “churchy.” Some churches take it to the other extreme and try to display God’s magnificence in the architecture or program itself. To me, the “high church” feel, or the liturgical services aim so high that they misrepresent the personal God we serve. If we say it’s for God but forget the people, that is missing the mark, too.
I believe this whole sanctuary renovation—today being our first day to experience the new carpeting, new paint, new lighting, and new decorations—is a great balance of loving God and loving neighbor.
It’s fresh and vibrant, yet feels anchored and stable. It’s up-to-date yet still feels timeless. It’s appealing without being flashy, and gorgeous without being gaudy.
It’s not the show-home of the multi-millionaire, and it’s not your buddy’s apartment where anything goes, but it’s your home—a place of family and love and worship.
So, welcome home. I’m so glad our family could gather and worship together, and it would make me so happy for our family to keep growing like this—together and joyful.
We’re certainly not a perfect family—whose is?—but I’ve seen a lot of people using their spiritual gifts to serve others over the past couple of weeks, and I’ve been so encouraged by that.
Keep up the great work, church.