In a recent PEW Research poll, 81% of Americans said they want most to encounter God when they worship with others. A few years ago, Mark Chaves, a sociologist found “an experience of awe” as what many church attenders desire. Put together, these perspectives suggest there is a hunger to experience an awe-inspiring God to meet life’s challenges.
Not every church can be or should be a megachurch. But I believe every church should be a sanctuary for encounter with an awesome God – who is, after all, the God Christ revealed. In fact, I believe the crisis in America is not essentially political, social, or economic, but spiritual. We need a renewed experience with the Living God.
As pastor, my purpose is to invite and encourage spiritually hungry people to find the soul satisfying experience and relationship with God we all need. Years ago, a Presbyterian pastor friend shared his response when non-attenders asked, “Anything special happening at church, pastor?” “Well, we are expecting God to show up,” he replied.
My prayer is that when we gather at 5615 Portsmouth Boulevard in the St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church sanctuary (Portsmouth), we come expecting God to show up! If you want to be part of that spirit of expectancy, we welcome you! You are among friends.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29, ESV). Come rest in the awesome presence of God!
Grace and Peace in the Holy Spirit,
Dr. James Bowers