The Pastor’s Quill
THANK YOU, CWOC!
By Pastor Tim Hodge
Dec 17, 2017
A few weeks back, I took two weeks ‘vacation’ back-to-back. That’s the first time in twenty-seven years of pastoring that I’ve done that, but it won’t be the last. It was refreshing to rest and rewarding to get some much-needed things done around my house that ‘needed’ to be done for quite a while.
I also had another motive in taking this time off. I was going to visit some area churches (larger, growing churches) so I could glean some things they were doing and evaluate Crossroads World Outreach Center alongside them. I visited two churches. The first church I walked in as a complete stranger. That church averages 1,800 in attendance. The second church I visited, I knew the pastor (and consider him a dear friend) and I saw several in the congregation I knew. Some of those came up to me and questioned, “What are you doing here on a Sunday?” They were quite elated that I’d take a free vacation Sunday to be in service with them. This church runs near 1,000 in their overall weekend multiple services.
In both of those churches they had amazing sanctuaries and facilities. They both had amazing worship teams. Both churches I attended were contemporary in worship styles. Regardless of our ‘personal preferences’ it is contemporary style churches that are having the greatest impact in reaching our culture. Though the first church does still have a traditional Methodist service, it’s attendance is much lower than the contemporary services. Maybe this would be a good place to interject that the advancement of the gospel and the Kingdom’s purposes are not reliant upon our personal preferences. I want what the KING wants.
I must interject here that though the atmospheres were great during worship, I came to the following conclusion: there was hardly any expressive worship in the congregations. In the first church there were several hundred in the auditorium. I saw one young lady actually raise her hands (a little bit) and sway to the music. The second church had a little more expression. I know some of you may think I ‘harp’ on this, but beloved friends expression in worship has nothing to do with my preferences. It does have everything to do with the mandates of scripture. For example, Psalm 66:2 states: “Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious” (NKJV).
Both churches had greeters at the doors. Both churches had “Welcome Centers” where first-time guests could go to receive gift bags and / or more information following the service. The first church had three gentlemen standing behind the counter who were so busy talking to one another that they never even acknowledged me or another lady standing there wanting more information. So, she and I both just took whatever was placed on the counter and left. The second church was much friendlier and engaged in conversation with me expressing their appreciation for my attending with them.
Okay, so I’ve processed this for several weeks and the other day I came to this conclusion of my two weeks of journeying: I MISSED CWOC. Yes, you read that right. I went to two very large churches with large attendances and large budgets and great facilities and amazing equipment and snazzy tools to set the atmosphere, but I missed CWOC. I missed the passion of people who I know are involved in the ministries God has called us to do. I missed the people who sacrifice time, energy, and money to be a part of something that is much bigger than they are and much bigger than where we currently are.
I missed the hugs. I missed the smiles. I missed the HEART of the people who make CWOC such a special place. And yes, though I long to see such a greater level of passion demonstrated at CWOC, I did miss our level of passion… passion for God and passion for people.
I missed the dedication of the nursery workers, the Children’s Ministries workers, the Youth Ministry, the Praise Team (and all the folks in audio / video associated with that), and the HELPS ministries. The messages at the other churches were ‘okay’ but I missed the rich WORD God delivers at CWOC. As the Lead Pastor, I am constantly aware of the high level of commitment and dedication I see people exhibit week-in and week-out. It doesn’t go unnoticed by me and especially by God Almighty.
We are not a mega church in attendance. WE ARE A MEGA CHURCH IN HEART. The former will eventually catch up with the latter.
Yes, we have much we can work on, but right now I just want to say, “Thank you, CWOC.” Thank you for being YOU! Greater things are yet to come. To GOD be the glory!