On Sunday, I (Kevin) went to a church that's slogan was "church for the church-scarred". Boy what an unruly bunch of misfits. I was forced to think about what it means to be church-scarred - maimed by attending a community of believers who sometimes bring in their own stuff into the Kingdom of God.
I was struck by the love and peace in God that these "punks" had and expressed in church. While the experience was nothing like I'd ever experienced before, the genuine love of God was so powerful that I even wrote a poem entitled (Watch Out! - When Misfits are Freed).
As we return from Spain, Leah and I have dialogued greatly about being disciples in a country where the majority of the people are church-scarred. This experience then was very impacting for me. I was reminded that there are people who have been church-scarred and though they do not agree with the status quo church, they want and desire a passionate relationship with Jesus. These are people who have been burned by the church, but STILL make an ardent intent on pursuing and forming community surrounded by the freedom, love and redemption of Jesus.
If then there are people here, then God is stirring in the hearts of misfits in Spain. There are going to be people, not seekers, but ardent intentors of relationship with Jesus and his community. Though these people may be scarred by the church, they will congregate out of all seriousness to worship in community.
One of the most exciting things about this perspective gained while at this church is that God has followers intent on loving him and feeling his love and redemption. As one going into ministry, nothing can be a more joyful thing to here. There are people now, serious, and intent misfits, who want the peace of Christ that the church that scarred them forgot. BUT, by the grace of God, they have desire of community, and they will not let it rest without being a part of the Gospel community.
This church in Portland was a renegade bunch on the fringe of Evangelicalism, complete with twenty hair-colors, cussing in and outside of the church and some wild worship tempered by the sheer weight of the love of Jesus Christ. It is a place where those scarred by the church have come. Thinking about ministry then in a country full of church-scarred people, maybe we will have to think a great deal differently about who it is that will be congregating with great intent around the love of Jesus Christ.
If the church of Spain become a country-wide church of misfits, I will thank God for the opportunity to commune with misfits around the great and powerful peace and freedom in the love of Jesus Christ.