I’ve been in church since I was two weeks old. My grandmother and great-grandmother raised me in the ways of the Freewill Baptists.
(Most Baptist denominations believe in eternal security for the beliver. If you are wondering what makes Free Will Baptists different, we believed if you got it you could still lose it. Actually, at my church, we taught you probably did lose it… several times in a few days in some cases, depending on what kind of week you were having).
Not only does my grandmother still attend that church, but she still sits in the same pew! How do I know? Because we carved our mark on it when I was a kid and it’s been ours ever since. (For millenials – a “pew” is a long, painful bench).
Growing up we did not ask if we were going to church on Sunday, or Sunday night, or Wednesday night. Attendance was non-negotiable. It never dawned on us that we might skip the special singings – actually, it’s a “sangin'” where I come from – or fellowship suppers or foot washing services.
On a side note, something deep happens in the heart of an eight-year old boy who is taught to wash the feet of the elder men of God. Maybe we should institute that back in our kids ministries.
I learned a lesson through that upbringing of faithfulness to the house of God. I don’t think it’s just a good, ole-fashioned, Bible Belt, southern mindset.
I believe it’s Biblical.
We were taught to get planted.
That meant you found the house God told you to connect to, you submit to the leadership, you put down roots, and you do not move until God says otherwise.
I know I know… So old school, un-hip, and out of touch.
But still right, nonetheless.
It seems we’ve created a culture where people shop for churches like they shop for cars. So we build everything around first impressions and guest experience (both of which are vitally important, to be sure). At the end of the day, whoever has the most money to create the most dynamic environment wins. So we shuffle people back and forth in a competition for excellence.
But what ever happened to getting planted? Whatever happened to “I shall not be moved?”
It is impossible to bear fruit unless you have a root system somewhere.
Where do we go when we look for our foundation, our hidden place where God developed us, the house and the leadership where we invested years of our lives in service to God and He invested years of growth and maturity in us?
Where’s our roots?
There is a strength and authority that comes on your life when you’ve past the test of getting planted. When you’ve submitted to a church and a leader for more than a “season,” and you are there during the ups and the downs.
You get offended but you stay planted.
You think the preaching is too hard but you stay planted.
People you know and love left over this or that, but YOU – you stay planted.
There’s only one way to get authority…
By getting under it.