Establishing the culture that God has called us to at C3 is a privilege for all us who call this place home. The words and themes that have been shared so far this year are instructions and ways of life to help cultivate a place where the Holy Spirit is free to move, where people feel welcomed, and help establish heaven on earth in our house.
God showed me as I was preparing to share with you on Awareness that once this culture is realized and ran with, it will spread like a wildfire through our hearts and through the church, and His purpose will be established. I say this to emphasize that these aren’t just “nice, Christian” things we share to encourage you each month, but ways of life to pick up and run with and evaluate your actions against. Unity is something we cannot attain without God, but He also asks us to participate both practically and spiritually. It’s an honor to partner with Him in such a task as establishing His chosen culture here at C3!
Woo! I’m excited to be a part of this undertaking, and I’m excited to share with you how awareness is part of our culture. Our ultimate goal is to “create a place where God and people are welcome” so let’s talk about awareness of God and people!
Awareness of God
We’ll focus on awareness of God within the walls of our church, but the intention is that we would practice it at church so it can be taken out into the city to bring change to the hearts and lives of others!
As we walk into church for a service, to serve, or for any other reason, it’s a time to ask God to open our eyes, speak to us, and guide us. God has big things on His heart every day, and if we are listening and aware, we get to participate! He may have a new person for us to greet, sit with, and take out to lunch, or He may give us an encouraging word for a friend who is going through a hard season. He may show us a need in an area of serving He has equipped us to step into that day. He may show us trash on the floor or something we could clean or attend to so His house is shiny and welcoming for His kids. He may simply remind us to smile and be thankful.
As we ask God to quiet our minds from our to-do lists, our stress from rushing to be at church on time, or the explosion of goldfish crackers in the car on the way, He is faithful to respond. If this is new to you, don’t worry, we’re all walking it out together! Doing this whenever you walk through the doors at church will teach you and get you into the habit of doing it wherever you go, like work, the grocery store, the gym, etc.
As we become more aware that God is speaking and leading us, our Christianity transforms from a list of do’s and don’ts to a full on moment by moment conversation with our Creator. People transformed by a relationship with Jesus transform cities.
Awareness of People
As we become aware of God, He helps us become more aware of people who walk through our doors- and how we can serve them. People will walk into our church with broken hearts and lives, with past hurts from church, with legalism, loneliness, with burdens and spiritual influences on their lives, and so much more. People so desperately want and need Jesus, and they walk into church evaluating if the people there are really like Him and love like Him. We are being equipped to discern spiritual atmospheres to know how to love on these people.
As we become aware of more than just ourselves, how we feel, and our self-imposed limitations, we are freed up to greet these people with a smile. To pray for them if God leads us, to ask questions or share encouragement as the Holy Spirit speaks to us. We talk with people with one ear (and both eyes!) on them, and the other ear towards heaven. Practically speaking, it may mean stepping away from your close friends you so desperately want to catch up with, and go meet some new friends to make them feel welcome.
As we walk into church with open eyes and ears, we notice there’s someone usually sitting at the cafe tables alone, new people wandering around wide-eyed, and people sitting solo in the sanctuary early. We are given this amazing opportunity to partner with God in practical and spiritual aspects to help build the one thing He is set on building- His church. We are given the opportunity to practice the servant life Jesus called us to live, which is so contrary to the world’s culture. We are presented with the privilege to walk people back to the bathrooms instead of point them in the right direction, to buy someone a latte and get to know their story. We are given eyes from Heaven to recognize a child is always wearing the same clothes and offer hand-me-downs or bless the family with a gift card.
It Takes Effort
Although we are citizens of God’s Kingdom, most of us have had the world’s culture ingrained into us. It takes intentionality to put off the ways of the world and learn a new culture. We have to practice tuning into heaven’s frequency; we have to set reminders to pray before we walk into church; give ourselves pep talks that stepping out of our comfort zone is worth it -- it takes some effort, however that may look for you. God is faithful- it’s who He is, He cannot be anything else. He is so pleased with and enthusiastic about you becoming aware of His presence, aware of His kids, and aware of what He might want you to do in a particular moment. This is something I certainly haven’t perfected, but every time I step out God meets me.
It is such an honor to share this with you! I encourage you to start this today, and share your stories of stepping on the Facebook page!