I love being a part of the Adventures in Missions culture. One of the many reasons is because of Monday morning staff worship. Every Monday the whole staff gets together and we worship for about an hour, just to start the week out on the right foot.
These times are refreshing and amazing. Not only for the worship, but the community overall. I’m sort of a reserved worshipper, so I like to sit back sometimes and watch everyone in action. It’s so cool to see everyone worship in their own specific ways. I’ve gotten to the point where seeing people in their worship element gives me a lot of joy. Even helps me worship a bit. But it’s also in these times that I contemplate the theme of the “Body of Christ.”
Often times you hear people use that term. I use it pretty regularly myself. But I think the term and the theme itself has been a bit skewed. The way I hear it these days (generally speaking) is that the body of believers is whomever you have things in common with. Those that worship how you do, that think how you do, that act how you do, and that believe what you do. It’s based on commonality rather than faith. Commonality rather, I would venture to say, than Christ.
I think this is one of the many, many ways that the church and believers in general can build walls of exclusion. Rather than building an environment of acceptance and inclusion. I think it’s a byproduct of a much larger issue, but it’s one I see day in and day out. And one that I am by no means innocent of.
I grew up Southern Baptist, and boy was I good at it. There’s nothing wrong with my denomination, my church, or the believers I was in community with growing up, don’t get me wrong. But I definitely did not accept differences of opinion well. Or differences in worship. I thought it really only went one way, and those who deviated were selfishly just looking for attention. I was something of a critical child. Either that or these people who danced, shouted, and ran around in worship were just on a completely different level from me. They had something I didn’t or were simply better Christians.
Both of these ideas are false and ridiculous. A fact I’ve come to realize more and more as my life has gone on.
I wanna tell you what I think the body looks like. I took a quick video of our most recent Monday worship session. Take literally 20 seconds and look at it.
I know it wasn't the best quality, but did you see that?
Did you catch they were all doing? Did you see what they had in common? What singular quality they stuck to?
There wasn’t one! Every single person in that video worships differently. They think differently. They talk to God differently. They act differently. You’d be hard-pressed to find something in common with all of them. Except for one thing. They all love Jesus something fierce. You probably also noticed how they didn’t look awkward, or didn’t seem uncomfortable with one another. That’s because they aren’t!
What is recognized at Adventures in Missions is that everyone comes from a different walk. Everyone has a different view on things. Everyone operates differently. But we all love Jesus and want to see His Kingdom on Earth. And that simple truth binds us all together. The body is diverse. The body is colorful. The body is crazy looking.
I mean look at the literal human body. If all the parts of the body did the same thing, we would look like one giant eye. Or one giant hand. Or one giant stomach. Without diversity of form and function in the body, we wouldn’t be able to live or move day-to-day. We wouldn’t actually be alive.
Since this is true of our human body (and tons of other things I could get into if you asked), then why don’t we think this way about our Christian body? Why does every other body have diverse functions and appearances, but our Christian body has to look like a group of clones all doing the same thing?
I don’t think Adventures is a perfect example, or that they do everything right by any means. Nor do I think that I have suddenly stumbled upon some deep, factual truth. I’m just going off what I have been through personally, and what I see day-to-day. Regardless I think AIM exemplifies this trait. The body is not defined by what we narrow-mindedly, or even open-mindedly, think it should look like. It’s defined by what Jesus said it should look like. And He said it should look diverse.
I wanna challenge you this week to look outside yourself and see what you can see. To set aside your preconceived notions of the Body of Christ, and see what you learn. It may be a pretty cool experience for you. Or it could be tough. Sometimes those things go hand-in-hand.
Here’s to challenging the norms!