…that they may be one, even as we are one

Jul 1, 2024 | Latvia | 0 comments

…that they may be one, even as we are one

Linda Gulbe – Smiltene, Latvia

These past couple of years I have been really challenged about the way in which most churches are run, here in Latvia. I am / was so used to being part of a charismatic church – like those from my Newfrontiers experience – which in my head were a more biblical way of doing church. And so being back in Latvia and not being able to find a church that is familiar to me, has been a real struggle.

You can live for a while without belonging to church but very soon you realise you need the community and the simple act of worshipping together with other believers. This longing to worship with others has motivated me to try out different churches near where I live. However, whilst visiting I have found myself very easily comparing the churches that I visit and in that, I began to realise that I was being a little judgmental. Very quickly I felt challenged by the Holy Spirit about these thoughts: Am I going to a church just to receive or enjoy a performance, or am I going to worship and meet with God? Am I going with a servant’s heart?

1 Peter 3:8 (NLT) says: Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathise with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.

I had thought that I was such a humble person…but oh boy how wrong I was! But I am learning to put aside my old ways and my old experiences and embrace a slightly different way of doing church. Whilst looking for a church where I can worship, my thinking has changed and the main focus for me has become more simplified: Is the church preaching a true gospel and foundational, Biblical truth?

Whether they like to stand up when the Bible is being read or not, or whether I’m in complete agreement with every detail of what’s said (I do like to voice my agreements with ‘hmm’ a lot), or whether they use the gifts of the Spirit regularly does not determine whether this is a wrong church or right church. Of course, not!

Don’t get me wrong, I know that there isn’t a perfect church out there, but I am learning that other charismatic / non-charismatic movements or denominations should not be disqualified in my thinking, simply because they are different. Christ is calling us to be united and this doesn’t mean that we should all look, preach or do church in the same way.

Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. (John 17:11, ESV)

We are not meant to be alone. God has created us to be in community and to be a part of His church. Therefore it is really important for us to be rooted in a church family, even if – like all families – they look and sound a little different to the churches that we are used to.

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