Can you walk in someone else’s shoes?

Churches are like shoes. Everybody has a favorite pair that goes with just about everything, and they are broken in just right. You feel comfortable and confident in your favorite pair. If you are like me, finding and buying a new pair may take quite a long time because it’s so hard to find the right fit. Even then, a new pair can take a while to get comfortable.

Churches can be the same way. You attend the church that is comfortable for you- the music fits, the preaching fits, the style of worship fits you just right. For some of you, you’ve attended the same church all your life like a pair of shoes that never wear out. For others, you’ve tried on several different churches like buying a new pair of shoes with the changing seasons.

We get so comfortable with the way we ‘do’ church, we might have a hard time understanding how someone else could possibly attend another kind of church. We are so familiar with our prefered style of worship that we can’t possibly see how any other kind of church could ever be useful to someone else. And, we may not say it out loud, but we think, “that kind of church is just not of God”.

Hear me out. I know we have our denominational beliefs for certain reasons. I, too, have strong theological convictions. I believe, just like you, that some doctrinal beliefs are simply unbiblical. However, some of our perceptions of other churches are unnecessarily negative because we have a limited view of why they worship the way they do.

churcheslikeshoes

You take a sliver of knowledge about a church and let it shape your whole thinking. It could be from a movie or tv show or from hearing family members talk about other churches. Maybe you’ve actually been taught from your church leadership that the worship and beliefs of other churches are wrong. Catholics worship Mary. Pentecostals speak in tongues. Churches of Christ don’t use instruments. It may or may not be true, but your limited understanding is skewed because you often don’t get the full context and reasoning behind a belief or practice. A little bit of misunderstanding disqualifies them from any possible common ground as fellow believers.

No matter how you formed your perceptions, this lack of understanding causes you to step back from the people who worship that way. And when you step back, that creates a divide. It’s this division that separates us from unity.

Ok, maybe you’ve fully studied other churches’ theological and doctrinal beliefs, and you simply believe they are wrong. Still, if your study has led you to disassociate with other believers, then division still exists and the fullness of unity is not expressed.

I believe now more than ever we need to be unified in building God’s Kingdom as the Body of Christ. This doesn’t mean we stop worshipping at our preferred churches, but rather take intentional steps to get to know and understand people from other churches to gain an appreciation for their particular style and mission.

Uniformity does not equate to conformity. We don’t have to conform to each other’s point of view in order to be unified. In God’s beautiful Body, we can be uniquely shaped for our specific mission, and yet be solidly unified in our purpose of Kingdom building and love for each other.

bodyofChrist
Women of the Way 2013

So if churches are like shoes, walk in someone else’s shoes for a change!

Seriously! This past Sunday I shared a Facebook Live video and challenged everyone to try this one thing this summer: go visit someone else’s church! You can check out that video here!

Also, I’ve made a special handout for some good ideas to interact with other believers. “How to be More Interdenominational” has lots of ways to make connections and get to know others from different kinds of churches. Check that out here.

When you have a conversation, you get to know the person. Then, you understand a little bit more of where they are coming from and why they do what they do. Their different ways don’t seem so mysterious, and you can appreciate their point of view. Understanding develops, division diminishes, and unity grows!!!

I know many of you already participate with other believers, and so many of you have a heart for the Body of Christ that I know I’m preaching to the choir! However, if any of those dividing thoughts have ever crossed your mind, won’t you consider trying on a different pair of shoes just to see what it’s like?

Try walking a mile….or just a Sunday….in someone else’s shoes!

~Amy

 

 

Advertisements

Why you need to be more Interdenominational……..

Women of the Way 2017 is almost here!!!!

More than 6 years ago, this idea of women from different churches coming together has grown and blossomed into such a beautiful gathering of the Body of Christ!

Each year, I love seeing women connecting, making friends, getting to know each other. We are inspired by the messages from amazing speakers and learn about the organizations that accomplish such great work in our community.

My favorite thing though?…….Oh……my absolute favorite thing about WoW is at the end of each session. We all hold hands with each other, and we say in unison the one prayer that brings us all together.

Our Father, who art in heaven,hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom Come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who’ve trespassed against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen

It’s one of the MOST beautiful things to experience in a church setting.

bodyofChrist

Maybe it’s just me…..but it feels like the Father is just smiling down on us. It feels like the unity of his daughters radiates such pleasure from Him!

And that’s why, I believe, you need to be more interdenominational.

Gathering with other believers brings unity, oneness, and love.

It reminds us that we are part of The Body of Christ, not just our own denomination.

It calls us to something bigger than our own little corner of the world making us more aware of how the Spirit is working all around us!

To help you get ready for this year’s gathering, I put together this free ebook  “Prayers and Meditations for Unity” to describe why I feel unity and oneness in the Church is so important with prayers and Scripture to prepare your heart. Click on the link to download your copy here.

You can also get your own copy of “Building Unity”  on some practical ideas on how to actually experience more unity with other believers.

Yes! Each of our own churches and ministries are so vital and important.  I don’t want to take away from that, but taking some time to be with other believers has the potential to revive us in a unique way to keep pursuing our mission!!!

wow2016flyer

I really hope to see you at Women of the Way 2017. God has always been faithful each year, and I anticipate this year to be no exception!! Check out the Facebook event page for the latest info and details!

Download those ebooks too! I would love to hear if they were helpful to you!

~Amy

THE KING IS COMING 2017!!!

It’s that time of year again! Women of the Way 2017 is one month away!!!!!

This year’s theme will be The King is Coming!! 

I know….it’s a bit different from what we’ve done in the past. Usually, we study certain women in the Bible. We’ve learned so many valuable lessons from the best women in the Bible.

However, this year I feel this urgency the Church needs to be about Kingdom business. So much is going on around the world and around us that we’ve got to get outside the walls of our building and be the hands and feet of Jesus!

Christ’s Second Coming is a principal doctrine in the Christian faith. Now granted, there’s wide variety of teachings and beliefs about when, where, how all this might take place. Whether its spoken in the creeds or sung about in heart-warming hymns, Jesus’ Return is a central part of our faith.

We won’t be talking so much about the doctrinal interpretations or teachings about the Jesus’ Return, but we will be talking about how the Church needs to ready!

The Body of Christ needs to prepare to be the Bride of Christ!!

In other words……we’re getting ready for the Great Wedding Feast!!!

We’ll be talking about:

-Watching and Waiting, Matt 24 by Amy Satterfield at Hope Assembly

-Wise and Unwise Bridesmaids, Matt 25 by Trish Pierson at Fayetteville Cumberland Presbyterian

-Dressed and Ready, The Bride of Christ, by Tammy Johnson at Fayetteville United Methodist Church

-The Wedding Feast by Debbie Woodward at Washington Street Church of Christ

wow2016flyer

Now more than ever, I feel so strongly about the Church being more unified than ever before. In a world of division, The Church needs to be One in the Spirit and One in the Lord, and we’ve got to show the world that we are One by our Love.

So, I hope to see you there so we can  focus on Who Unites Us rather than What Divides Us!!

Join the Facebook event here.

I ask you to spread the word, invite, and share with your church and your friends because word of mouth is the best way to get women together!

~Amy

We Belong to Each Other

Now more than ever, I’m convinced we must be more about building the Kingdom of God than our own denominations (If you know my story, you know that I am a Heinz 57 mutt of denominations…..so, I am not against denominations). I do believe building His Kingdom happens better when we are unified.

Roman 12:3-5 “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.”

Sometimes, we get in our church box where it’s comfortable and familiar, and we might have the tendency to start comparing our brand of church to other churches….that’s like comparing apples to oranges. Instead we need to compare our fellowship by the faith that God has given us. Are we fulfilling the specific mission that God has called us to do?

The reason we shouldn’t compare each other’s churches is because we each have a special function and purpose within the Body of Christ. Each part has its own way of ministering to and reaching all different kinds of people. So, it’s ok for us to have our own functions and missions as long as we remember that these differences are meant to compliment each other instead of divide us.

When we realize that we are all parts of One Body, then we’re going to see that “we all belong to each other.

See, Jesus doesn’t see us as separate parts. He sees us as One Body….His Body.

With this uplifting perspective, we don’t have to compare our ministries or fellowships. We can support and cheer for each other and work together because we are all working for the common goal of building His Kingdom!

If fact, Jesus prayed that we’d all be one:

John 17: 20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me”

We belong to each other! If you believe in Jesus Christ, you are my sister and let’s be about the Father’s business building the Kingdom of God!

~Amy

PS…One of my favorite new groups says it in such a fun, toe-tapping tune…..

 

All of You…Together

1 Corinthians 3:16-23

16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in[a] you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.18 Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,“He traps the wise    in the snare of their own cleverness.”[b20 And again,“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise;    he knows they are worthless.”[c]

21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Peter,[d] or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Why does Women of the Way gather to study and fellowship together?

All of you together are the Body of Christ.

All of you together are the Church of God.

All of you together are the Bride of Christ.

 We are stronger when we are unified. We are more effective when we work together.  We are One when we love each other.

Our theological and doctrinal differences are minor in light of the children going hungry, the women enslaved for their bodies, the missionaries enduring persecution, or the nations without the Scriptures in their native language…all of whom need a Savior.

So let us step out of our neat little boxes that we retreat to on Sundays. Let us break out of the comfort zones of our hymns, bulletins, and worship songs. Let us be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world outside beyond the particular sign over the door.

“We are One in the Spirit, We are One in the Lord, and they’ll know we are Christians by our love”bodyofChrist

~Amy

Christian Women’s Club

Women of the Way is nothing new. The gathering of women from different congregations to seek God and encourage each other is not a novel idea. There may be fresh faces and energy, but the movement is not new.

Many of you (in the Lincoln County area) may remember the After Five Club that started in the late 1970’s, where for several years, Christian women would meet at the Country Club or a restaurant to invite and share their faith with unchurched women. These ladies hoped that meeting at a public place would draw women who might not feel comfortable in a church setting. They also held prayer coffees on a regular basis. “Many lives were changed in Fayetteville, lives rededicated and some ladies were saved.”

What you may not realize is that this ministry has its roots with one Irish immigrant woman from California in the early 1930’s. Mrs. Helen D. Baugh was a preacher’s daughter who passionately shared God’s Word, sang, and evangelized in rural towns all over California with her two sisters. When she became a wife and homemaker, she began prayer groups of women in their homes and also started a gathering called The Christian Business Women’s Council of America which was a dinner program to present the Gospel to career women. This ministry eventaully became known as Stonecroft Ministries which spread nation-wide as well as into several countries. In 1967, the After Five Christian Women’s Club, evening outreach groups for women, were introduced and finally reached our area in the late 70s.

A small group of women from that ministry in our town still exists, and they still meet once a month in each other’s homes for Bible study and coffee. I was honored to meet some of the ladies (and some I already knew but didn’t know they were apart of this group) a few months ago. It was such a blessing to hear about how these women from different churches, different denominations have been gathering for so many years to pray, study, and encourage each other. What a beautiful example of the Body of Christ!

Photos courtesy of Helen Lowe
Photos courtesy of Helen Lowe

IMG_8920 IMG_8927  IMG_8930

So, Women of the Way may not be new idea. Ok, it may even be a reinventing of an old idea if you will. But how cool is that?!? I am in awe of such a legacy. A legacy that began with one woman who simply loved to share the love of God and to pray with other women and spread into a ministry of thousands of women who advanced the Kingdom of Heaven!!

If you have ever been a member of the local Christian Women’s Club, thank you for your dedication and ministry to our community. Thank you for your dedication to God.

As we prepare for Women of the Way 2015, I pray we are as passionate about advancing His Kingdom as Helen D. Baugh was almost 100 years ago. I pray we are united in one heart and one mind, despite our doctrinal differences just like these wonderful women in our community, to focus more on Who unites rather that What divides us to becoming passionate, devoted followers of Christ!

Join me?

~Amy

PS…if you are interested in the Christian Women’s Club, contact me and I’ll get you the info!

My Coat of Many Colors

I have a coat of many colors. Not a Joseph kind of coat, but more like a Dolly Parton-patch-work-quilt kind of coat. This coat has been stitched together through many years of experience adding patch by patch of various styles, patterns, and textures.

I didn’t make my coat of many colors……it made me. Through years and years, as each patch has been added, it formed me and shaped me and my life would be impacted by each little part.

My coat – this glorious, rich mish-mash of vibrant colors, is my church history, or rather, my spiritual formation…….my interdenominationalism, if you please.

Throughout my life, I have been a part of several different denominations. I have known the expressive excitement of a charismatic service and the intense spiritual warfare of a Pentecostal service. I have understood grace from the Southern Baptist church.  And I have learned the deep respect for the elements of communion in the Episcopal Church, just to name a few.

There’s been one common thread through this patchwork journey. I didn’t really see it as it was happening. But, I can look back and realize that God has been faithfully knitting my coat of many colors to form me into His image, to teach me and grow me into the person He desires me to be.

Coat of Many Colors
Coat of Many Colors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, sometimes I wish my coat was made of one complete fabric, uniform in texture, style and color. A fashion statement. I wish I could have a long-standing history at one place, one congregation. It would be easier, and so much more comfortable, to slide into a well-worn, familiar coat. Instead, the patches of my coat have been pieced together in an unpredictable way. And, I’ve never gotten used to my heart breaking over one patch ending and the uncertainty of another patch beginning.

Oh, but I wouldn’t trade a thing for the lessons or the journey of how this coat has shaped me…and continues still even now.

And the people…. oh, the people! For each church in which I have worshipped, there have been pastors, mentors, and kindred spirits who have blessed and enriched my life. They are like threads of gold and silver woven into the fabric of my being. So many precious friends have been like beautiful buttons or beads carefully sewn into the patches to adorn my coat to make it not just valuable but priceless. I can’t imagine my life without all these brothers and sisters I have met along the way.

My coat of many colors isn’t finished. I don’t if it ever will be. I don’t know what the final product will look like. But I do know that I can trust the Master Weaver to knit and weave with wisdom and beauty until I am complete. Just like Dolly’s coat was made with maternal love, my coat is made with Eternal Love.

I cherish my coat of many colors my Father made for me.

~Amy

My Coat of Many Colors

You may be wondering…..why does it matter if Women of the Way is interdenominational?

Because I have been uniquely shaped by many traditions. Keep reading and see why:

I have a coat of many colors. Not a Joseph kind of coat, but more like a Dolly Parton-patch-work-quilt kind of coat. This coat has been stitched together through many years of experience adding patch by patch of various styles, patterns, and textures.

I didn’t make my coat of many colors……it made me. Through years and years, as each patch has been added, it formed me and shaped me and my life would be impacted by each little part.

My coat – this glorious, rich mish-mash of vibrant colors, is my church history, or rather, my spiritual formation…….my interdenominationalism, if you please.

Throughout my life, I have been a part of several different denominations. I have known the expressive excitement of a charismatic service and the intense spiritual warfare of a Pentecostal service. I have understood grace from the Southern Baptist church.  And I have learned the deep respect for the elements of communion in the Episcopal Church, just to name a few.

There’s been one common thread through this patchwork journey. I didn’t really see it as it was happening. But, I can look back and realize that God has been faithfully knitting my coat of many colors to form me into His image, to teach me and grow me into the person He desires me to be.

Coat of Many Colors
Coat of Many Colors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, sometimes I wish my coat was made of one complete fabric, uniform in texture, style and color. A fashion statement. I wish I could have a long-standing history at one place, one congregation. It would be easier, and so much more comfortable, to slide into a well-worn, familiar coat. Instead, the patches of my coat have been pieced together in an unpredictable way. And, I’ve never gotten used to my heart breaking over one patch ending and the uncertainty of another patch beginning.

Oh, but I wouldn’t trade a thing for the lessons or the journey of how this coat has shaped me…and continues still even now.

And the people…. oh, the people! For each church in which I have worshipped, there have been pastors, mentors, and kindred spirits who have blessed and enriched my life. They are like threads of gold and silver woven into the fabric of my being. So many precious friends have been like beautiful buttons or beads carefully sewn into the patches to adorn my coat to make it not just valuable but priceless. I can’t imagine my life without all these brothers and sisters I have met along the way.

My coat of many colors isn’t finished. I don’t if it ever will be. I don’t know what the final product will look like. But I do know that I can trust the Master Weaver to knit and weave with wisdom and beauty until I am complete. Just like Dolly’s coat was made with maternal love, my coat is made with Eternal Love.

I cherish my coat of many colors my Father made for me.

~Amy

Why Bother?

I prefer to associate with people who believe like I do……….

It’s more comfortable to stay within the walls of my own church…..

My denomination has it ‘right’ and others…well… don’t.

Why bother?

We all have our justifications for why we worship with a particular denomination. And with good reason…..drums vs no drums, hymns vs praise & worship, eternal security vs not, wine vs grape juice, tongues vs interpretation, large vs small…the list goes on and on. All these variations of worship help us connect to God in ways that suits us best, and we find community within the Church with like-minded believers to support us in our journey.

Not a thing wrong with this!

But….how often do you engage in spiritual conversations with someone from a different part of the Body? I’m not talking about awkward holiday dinners with family members or debates with zealous co-workers or the uncomfortable avoidance of the nice, young men on bicycles. Rather, when was the last time you had a genuine conversation with someone from a different denomination and sought to understand why they believe the way they do?

English: Communion setting at an Evangelical L...
English: Communion setting at an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America worship service: an open Bible, both unleavened bread and gluten-free wafers, a chalice of wine, and another containing grape juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Through my travels of different church experiences and meeting all kinds of people, I’ve discovered some valuable lessons along the way:

1) Discussing with others about how I interpret the Bible helps me understand better what I believe.

When I have to study, reflect , and intelligently articulate a doctrinal belief, I better understand what I believe and why I believe it. I often come away from the discussion encouraged and my faith is stronger than ever.

2) Talking and asking questions helps to clear up misconceptions.

Often what we think we know about a denomination is a bit skewed. We think we know all about a church by what is a stereotyped, limited idea such as “all Pentecostals handle snakes” or “all Catholics pray to Mary”, etc.  Asking sincere, honest questions can make me realize my opinions may have been formed by cultural stereotypes or lack of information.

3)  Realizing God works in lots of different ways helps me let God out of my box.

Sure, it feels a bit like my solid foundation is turning sideways and I’m slipping off hanging onto to my comfortable beliefs by my fingernails. Talking about other doctrines and interpretations just sometimes feels flat out wrong. But then, I realize God is WAY bigger than my predictable box and He can handle all the differences.

4) Discovering others’ journeys helps me realize how much they love Jesus.

Yes, there are fakers and pretenders in every brand of faith, but once I get to know how sincere a person is in their belief, I realize how much they actually love Jesus. Granted, it may look a lot different than how I love Jesus, and they may practice their worship differently than me. But, I still have to appreciate how God works uniquely in people’s lives, and He’ll use anything to draw people to Him.

Corcovado jesus
Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

5) Becoming a better Christian is the goal.

When I better appreciate other people’s perspectives, I am more understanding and less critical. I am more loving and less judgmental. Isn’t that what unity is all about? In this way, we all become more like Christ.

I am in no way suggesting “anything goes” in regards to doctrinal belief and Biblical interpretation. Nor, does it mean I will agree with everyone’s different perspective. I certainly have a clear view of what I believe and why I believe it. I definitely have my opinions about different denominations too. But I have come to learn that God has us all in the palm of His hand, and I trust that He’s got it all under control. And I am better off when I bother to share these conversations.

If you proclaim Jesus is Lord, then you are my sister!!

I invite you to share you experiences with Christians in other denominations. How has your box been stretched?

~Amy

My Coat of Many Colors

I have a coat of many colors. Not a Joseph kind of coat, but more like a Dolly Parton-patch-work-quilt kind of coat. This coat has been stitched together through many years of experience adding patch by patch of various styles, patterns, and textures.

I didn’t make my coat of many colors……it made me. Through years and years, as each patch has been added, it formed me and shaped me and my life would be impacted by each little part.

My coat – this glorious, rich mish-mash of vibrant colors, is my church history, or rather, my spiritual formation…….my interdenominationalism, if you please.

Throughout my life, I have been a part of several different denominations. I have known the expressive excitement of a charismatic service and the intense spiritual warfare of a Pentecostal service. I have understood grace from the Southern Baptist church.  And I have learned the deep respect for the elements of communion in the Episcopal Church, just to name a few.

There’s been one common thread through this patchwork journey. I didn’t really see it as it was happening. But, I can look back and realize that God has been faithfully knitting my coat of many colors to form me into His image, to teach me and grow me into the person He desires me to be.

Coat of Many Colors
Coat of Many Colors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, sometimes I wish my coat was made of one complete fabric, uniform in texture, style and color. A fashion statement. I wish I could have a long-standing history at one place, one congregation. It would be easier, and so much more comfortable, to slide into a well-worn, familiar coat. Instead, the patches of my coat have been pieced together in an unpredictable way. And, I’ve never gotten used to my heart breaking over one patch ending and the uncertainty of another patch beginning.

Oh, but I wouldn’t trade a thing for the lessons or the journey of how this coat has shaped me…and continues still even now.

And the people…. oh, the people! For each church in which I have worshipped, there have been pastors, mentors, and kindred spirits who have blessed and enriched my life. They are like threads of gold and silver woven into the fabric of my being. So many precious friends have been like beautiful buttons or beads carefully sewn into the patches to adorn my coat to make it not just valuable but priceless. I can’t imagine my life without all these brothers and sisters I have met along the way.

My coat of many colors isn’t finished. I don’t if it ever will be. I don’t know what the final product will look like. But I do know that I can trust the Master Weaver to knit and weave with wisdom and beauty until I am complete. Just like Dolly’s coat was made with maternal love, my coat is made with Eternal Love.

I cherish my coat of many colors my Father made for me.

~Amy