After a phone conversation with a friend of mine who is always comfortable telling me like it is, I am compelled to write out these thoughts. Writing is how I process, so here goes…
The motto of Epiphany Station is Love God. Love people, Period. We live this out every day. When people ask me why [e]-stat is different from other churches I tell them it is because they don’t just speak the word of Christ, they live it out every day of their lives. We are not a building we go to one hour on Sunday. We are a community that takes care of people. We don’t just take care of their own, we actively take care of others. WE ARE THE CHURCH
In our church we’ve had some very public health issues with a few members since I’ve been attending. The church has done meals, benefits, rides, prayers, financial support, yard work…so many things that people needed that can’t be done within a Sunday sermon.
We also do outreach in the community with Celebrate Recovery, Sunday night gatherings at a local park throughout the summer months, we have a men’s softball team that plays in the community rec league, there are several small groups and part of their mission each quarter is a service project of some sort. Sometimes they are projects for people within the church, other times they are community projects.
Our mission is to reach the un-churched. People who have nowhere to hear the word of God and to grow their faith. We welcome them into our fold and we give them the tools they need, we offer guidance, we take them by the hand and lead them to a safe place so they can come to know God. We are a a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints.
When those ‘sinners’ show up, it is our job (as a church) is to care for them as a hospital would. Not just one person takes care of you when you are in the hospital; and it is not one person’s job to care for you when you allow us to see your wounded soul.
In the hospital you have specialists, technicians, nurses, custodial staff, administrative staff, volunteers, an administrator to oversee things, and usually a few students trying to learn a thing or two so they can step into the above positions.
We are no different at [e]-stat. We have people who are skilled in recovery, others who are gifted in organization, some who enjoy working behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Another aspect that makes our church stand out to me is that people are held accountable. Although there can still be times of gossip and such that I’ve seen run rampant in other church environments, it usually does not last long. There is not an Us -v- Them mentality when it comes to leadership. We are a team, working together to grow God’s Kingdom.
So what happens when a new kid wants to be on our team and there is a conflict with a key player? Well, here’s what makes us great…
We have several other people who can step in and coach that person. There are several other people who can fill-in for the conflicted. This is what makes us who we are. Just because the new kid has a slap-shot that hit another kid on the team in the mouth once does not mean the team turns their back.
Quite the opposite.
Instead, the team rally’s around both people. It keeps the one with the missing teeth from the puck safe, and it teaches the new kid how to properly participate in the game in a safe manner so they can develop their skills and become a productive, respected member of the team.
As the new kid gets better, the other kid heals and eventually they can both move forward for the growth of the team.
This is what makes us who we are.