The Hubby and i went visiting another church last night. We were invited by some people to come listen to a guest preacher and we decided it was worth going to (we invited some church kids to come along as well but they ended up not coming - but anyway ...)
There wasn't anything particularly special about the meeting - I mean, nothing out of the ordinary by Pentecostal standards - but it was great that I was there. More on that later.
In a more general sense, I personally like attending services of other churches - whether it be a special meeting or the usual Sunday service. Of course that goes with the foundational MUST of being rooted and committed to my own local church. Here's what I like about it:
- I get to appreciate more the diversity in the body of Christ. There are various ways to worship and it's nice to see - and even participate in - how other people do it. Aside from that, I might get ideas for little bits that we can try at our home church, hee hee.
- Sometimes I appreciate my own church more - for all its flaws and flubs - when I see that other churches are flawed ad flubbed too. :p
- Now this is real important to me: It's a chance for me to receive ministry. When I visit another congregation, I'm just an attendee there; not a worker or leader or anything. I can get their workers to pray for me. At our home church, the Hubby and i are at the administering end, hardly ever at the receiving end, and we're at this constant "watch" mode to see that things are getting done (besides, due to our virtual position, most people at home are too intimidated to minister to us). When attending another church, we can temporarily lay aside the serve others first guideline; in this instance, we are the others. We give them the chance to minister to us.
- I like it when a minister who doesn't know me prays or speaks over me (provided of course that he / she is actually experienced and knows what he / she is doing). Not that I don't appreciate the people at home who do know me, because I really do - it's just that sometimes i think they know too much about me so they might just say what they think I need / want to hear. Some of the best, most powerful, spot-on prophecies I've received are from people who don't know me personally; I know their messages were from God because they hit the mark even if there was no human way possible for them to know those things. There's an added zing about it when a message comes from someone unfamiliar.
- It just plain breaks monotony. In today's reliably-structured, modern religious practice in danger of becoming the same old same old, I so welcome variety (with certain restrictions of course, but that's not the point I'm trying to make here).
So anyway, at this meeting, the Hubby and i were at the receiving end, right? We didn't have to worry about making sure people were lining up properly at the altar, we weren't concerned about asking for words for people, we didn't have to look around to make sure our sheep were eating their greens and so on. It felt so darned good to just think about ourselves at a meeting like this. It's been a while since I personally received some really meaningful prophetic ministry, and at an opportune time too; it gives a whole new dimension to the word refreshing. I count this as the happy thawt of the day and the big blessing of the week.