What do you think church is?

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I work for a company based out of Germany.  Recently the owner of the company came to visit our headquarters while he was in Chicago.  It was a big “to do” in our office.  Everyone had to dress like they were being interviewed and we stood for an hour in the company’s atrium while he spoke.

I knew I worked for a company that was owned by a Christian, but it is not something you hear or see much about here in the states.  The only time I see it mentioned is in interdepartmental literature we receive from Germany occasionally.  The owner spent the first 15 minutes or so telling us why he was in Chicago in the first place.  He was here for a Leadership Conference at Willow Creek Church.  He described how he met with Bill Hybels and other leaders from the church and what he learned from these leaders on being a leader and organizing a church.  He, and those he traveled with, have plans to open a church in Germany. That is why they came here to see examples of well run organizations.

So, what was interesting to me about this visit was a co-worker approach me and asked me if I felt competitive when he said he had gone to Willow Creek Church.  Competitive?  I thought that was the strangest was to describe the feeling of someone else going to a different church.  It lead me to think, “Is that how most people feel about other churches”?  Is that what they think church is?  Is this what you learn at church?

So, I thought maybe I would share what I have learned at our church.  I am forgiven.  Not because of anything I have done, or will do- but because of Jesus. I am loved.  God tells me he loves me more than 300 times in the Bible.  He tells me not to be afraid or worry, and in my humanness, I still do it anyway.  I am human.  I have faults and I struggle and that’s OK.

I have junk.  We all have junk, luggage, baggage or whatever you want to call it.  Your past sins do not define who you are today.  When I’m not strong enough to pray, my church family will do it for me.  There is only one perfect Christian.  When you think you hear God speaking to you- he probably is.  Listen. You are not alone.

West Ridge isn’t in a competition with other churches for people.  We are here to support each other no matter what stage in our Christianity we are in.  I’m grateful that Steve, Josh, Ella and I have made West Ridge our home and blessed to have so many wonderful people as a part of my church family.

Happy Birthday West Ridge!
Katie Van Gheem

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