March 19, 2014Have you ever been a part of a team? Experienced the camaraderie of going through some thing with a group of individuals? Growing up I played on a number of different baseball teams. One team I was on when I was fifteen was really special. The team was filled with solid players and had quite a cast of characters. In fact, I remember one time being dropped off at the ball field for practice by a friend's mom. As I went to join my teammates the mom called me back to the car. When I came back she had a concerned look on her face. I asked her what was wrong and she pointed and said, "David, be careful there is a gang over there." When I looked over to where she had been pointing I smiled and said, "Oh don't worry. That's not a gang, that's my baseball team."
Despite our appearance, at the ended of the season we were city champions having defeated our season long rival, the Tigers, for the championship. The game was a nail bitter and even as I write this all these years late I still get knots in my stomach thinking about it. What I remember most about the game that day is the celebration we had after the final out was recorded. There was so much joy and excitement over what we had accomplished and what made it really special was that it was a team effort. We are designed to want to share our joys and experiences with others.
This is one of the reasons I love being a part of the church. Each Sunday as I drive to church, I feel as energized as I did when I was a part of that team. I feel that way because I know that I will be spending time with men and women who are, in a manner of speaking, on the same team as me. For me, church is the place I go to gather with others and celebrate. Celebrate the fact that in Jesus Christ I am made new, celebrate that my sins are forgiven, celebrate that I am not alone but a part of a family, celebrate that there is an eternal future for me, celebrate that the God who created all things loves me, celebrate that my life has a purpose. The list could go on forever. In fact, when I walk out of church on Sunday mornings and I step out on to the patio, I look around and I see that I am surrounded by people who love and care for me and each other. That's why when I hear people talk about being lonely or needing encouragement I always tell them the best place to be is church.
But guess what, the church isn't just for those who are feeling great and have something to celebrate. Let me explain by going back to my sports analogy. While my team celebrated winning the city championship, the team we beat had to work through the letdown of their loss. But here is the thing, when you are on a team you never have to go through a loss alone. Losses can be painful and difficult, but when you are a part of a team you can encourage and strengthen one another, making losses a little easier to bear. The same applies for those who are part of a church. Not all of life is filled with moments of joy and celebration and when you are part of a church you have people there to support you. In 1 Corinthians 12 the apostle Paul share about how each member of the church is important, how we need one another and "If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together."
So whether you are in a season where you are able to celebrate or you are in a season where you need to be supported, know that God has a created a place for you to be called the church. I hope to see you there.
David Wojnicki serves as Associate Pastor at Valley Center Community Church (VCCC). His wife and three daughters have been a part of the Valley Center community for twelve years. To contact David send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to learn more about VCCC go to their website vccc.org.