This burning question hit me like a ton of bricks the night I sat to type this post.
I was gathered around a table with other Jesus lovers, battling the ever constant personaly insecurity of "I don't know these people. Do I share what I really think or hold back? They all know each other, I'm unnecessary." Those constant lies which plague our minds.
The time was designed to allow for feedback, conversation, and input regarding vision casting for the church. I had been asked because I serve on a team. (I couldn't figure out why I was invited to this and then found out this was the reason).
It came up. Those questions I cannot ignore, the ones the Lord keeps bringing up regarding purpose.
I dared and spoke up. And gosh darn, my voice got all wobbly and I nearly burst into tears (hormones I blame - for real though).
Why is it church has defined ministry by demographics?
This is my current struggle.
There are these little segments of the body sprinkled throughout and often never rubbing shoulders with one another.
I remember when I first moved back to the states and going through the church finding process.
At one particular "welcome-connect-hub-gathering" spot, the greeter asked the following questions when I asked for guidance in visiting a class.
* Are you in college? (Thank you for thinking I looked that young).
* Are you married?
* So I'm guessing you don't have children? (But what if I did?)
* Can I ask how old you are? (code for: are you too old for our "young adult" class. Answer: yes).
This was the process for discovering where I might "fit".
What about the place called - "I love Jesus and want to be part of the body." That's what I'm looking for.
So as I was sharing part of this passion about demographics tonight,
The words, "I just want to be part of the body" came out of my mouth.
I encountered the looks of pity. The murmuring accolades, "We understand."
At the very end, the lady across from me whispers, "We are single," pointing to herself and the two ladies near her.
That wasn't the point. The Lord's taking me on a sweet journey of this path of singleness. There is such beauty. The lessons God continues to teach me as ones I wouldn't trade. (Full disclosure - yes, it is still hard at times).
The point is, I'm watching others in this same life stage struggling.
This question of "where do I fit?" is unanswered and often brings about dissatisfaction and frustration.
I just want to be part of the body. This is the underlying question.
I'm one of those singles who wants to hold your newborn baby. Who would love to push your toddlers on the swing and talk about homework and school with your third grader. Who wants to be sarcastic and love on your awkward teenager. Who would process the scariness of talking about relationships and insecurity with your high schooler. To process transitioning to college with your 18-year-old. Who wants to watch your marriage and learn from you. Who wants Christian brothers to add perspective. Who wants to watch how to age in Jesus gracefully. Who wants older women to demonstrate what walking with Jesus looks like in different life stages.
And as I cried to Jesus about this, I realized this.
What I'm seeking from within the church walls, I have only ever experienced outside of it.
The sweetness and authenticity of intense Jesus relationships have occurred around dining tables, during car rides, at desks, on sofas, while playing games, on walks in the park, in homes, and a myriad of other locations.
Moment of conviction. I left the meeting very discouraged and headed to play volleyball. As I changed into my v-ball clothes, I pulled out my "identity" shirt.
It's the one Roo and I designed for Kid's Camp two years ago. And the theme was focused on the question "Who am I?"
None of the answers we discussed related to demographic. They related to who I am in Jesus.
And I was reminded.
I am more than my singleness.
I am more than a mid-thirties female.
I am more than a profession.
I am more than a demographic.
I am more than I perceive to be lacking.
I am more than the blessings the Lord has showered.
I am His.
Maybe it's time for our questions and our answers to change.