When I was in college, one of the more popular worship songs in chapel was “Greater Things” by Chris Tomlin. During my senior year, I was going though a lot of turmoil about the church, it’s purpose, it’s structure, and whether we had completely lost our way.
One particular day while all my fellow students sang that song enthusiastically around me, I wrote this:
Greater things: what are greater things? are they thousands of people, megachurches, huge movements, “revivals” that grow a church and don’t change the community? or are they faithfulness, small but true communities, life change that can’t help but be shared? acts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control?
I didn’t mean this as a criticism of the song. I had and have nothing against Chris Tomlin or this song. I had and have no idea what he means by “greater things.” All I knew was that I was no longer sure that the things I had been told were greater actually were.
I’m still not sure what God doing greater things looks like. I know that no matter if they are big or small, they look like Jesus. And that if what you or your church is doing doesn’t look like Jesus, you need to step back and reexamine what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
A lot of what I was seeing being done in His name didn’t look like Jesus. A lot of what I saw being done by churches was so far from fulfilling what what their purpose should be. And so I left. I left it all behind because I couldn’t sit through a “church service” without my gut clenching and my mind screaming at me about how futile it was.
I left in search of other people who felt the same way. Other people who, hopefully, wanted to form a church focused on Jesus and being his body in this world.
I didn’t really find anyone. I found a lot of great believers. I heard hints and rumors of what I was looking for, but it was always too far away or it no longer existed or it turned out to be more dream than reality. It felt like I was chasing a shadow or a puff of smoke.
After awhile, I moved from Minneapolis to small town Minnesota. It seemed like there was an even smaller chance of finding what I was looking for. The dream of a true church never really died, and my devotion to Jesus was the same. But I was drifting, isolated and stagnant, until God woke me up.
But that is a story for another blog post…