When was the last time you cried in church?

Sunday my family and I visited Crossroads Bible Church in Grand Rapids. We had heard good things from some of Kat’s students at Cornerstone University who attend there, but hey, we’ve heard great things about some churches that were just plain scarey!

What amazed me was how it resonated with my spirit. I can’t remember the last time that I was in worship and realized that tears were streaming down my face. Not out of need or guilt, but tears of joy and awe as I knew I was in the presence of my Lord.

What went on to bring this response? 

It meets in a school and the main gathering is in the gym. This is not the type of church architecture that thrills me, let alone brings me to tears!  I am much more drawn to ancient tall, gothic cathedrals (there is a lack of them even in churchy Grand Rapids).  But hey, they had coffee and cookies.  Find that in a cathedral.

The band was very good, they lead us in new songs along with remakes of old hymns. Maybe we were just lucky that they picked a couple of my favorite hymns, but I loved the music.  (The drummer has game, the lead was strong but nicely understated, the worship leader was authentic — that’s rare.)

The message rocked. The senior pastor, Rod Van Solkema, knows his stuff. It is obvious that he loves the word, has studied it intensively, and is careful to handle it accurately. This was the 4th anniversary of the founding of this fellowship, and Rod (he doesn’t call himself “pastor” — that alone is refreshing) preached on the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of his son Isaac.  I’ve heard this text preached many times but Rod tied in the Genesis account with the Hebrews 11 tribute in a way that most preachers miss.

Then there was a baptism.  A bunch of people came up, told their stories of deliverance and freedom and transformation through Christ, and then were baptised.  Listening to people give their story with freshness and vulnerablity is so impactful.  Great to see this done on Sunday morning, it was a real witness.

This was kind of a celebration service since it was their 4th anniversary, so it went long, but all four of us were quick to say we wanted to return. 

I’m not sure what exactly brought me into the awe inspiring presence of God, but it was real. When was the last time you found yourself in tears out of love and in awe of your God?

Posted on May 20, 2008 in Uncategorized

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Responses (7)

  1. Tori Sindorf
    May 21, 2008 at 2:01 am ·

    This blog is so true. It was a truly moving service, in such a completely different way. The vast majority of the time, the only emotions that bring people to tears in church consist of either guilt and brokenness or sadness and empathy.
    This was not a sensationalist service. The pastor did not try to bring out emotion in the people, there were none of the typical “emotional time” songs. But something about the authenticity of the worship and the genuine, passionate hearts of those being baptized let me know that I had truly entered into a place where the presence of God was real and savored by the community.
    i had tears of love and joy in my eyes as well. i felt at home.
    that is a rare thing to find in the mega/seeker-friendly/number-minded churches that seem so common nowadays. i like the idea of being a part of a church that focuses on being a community of believers rather on growing a corporation.

    good blog!

  2. nanhan
    May 21, 2008 at 8:38 am ·

    so weird where we connect w/ god, in what pew, bus, bike, kitchen…but let’s enter, let’s keep making room for our tears. and when they fall let’s be grateful and fully release to him who sees, who pursues, to him who knows when we need to cry and nudge us along. it’s astounding when we rediscover we are after all…still a part of a big love story. nangirl.blogspot.com

  3. Yuri Star
    May 21, 2008 at 9:18 am ·

    Great blog. I think sometimes it takes leaving our comfort zone to see God in a fresh way. It seems easy to get used to our “normal” weekly church experience…we sit in the same place…we sing the same songs…and we often hear the same message. I don’t think it is the churches fault…because I see other people get “touched” in the same service I’m attending…especially new people. I think it has to do with my personal level of expectation. Do I really come to church with an expectation that God is going to meet me there or am I expecting to experience the same service that I attended last week? Maybe if I come with a higher expectation to hear God each week…I’d cry more often.

    Thanks for the story and the challenge.


  4. Rich Z
    May 21, 2008 at 9:38 am ·

    Had I been asked that question several years ago I would have responded by asking , “why would someone cry in church?” Sure, I too would have thought the only reasons were out of need or guilt let alone how embarrassing. Guilt is a whole topic in itself for crying but you have hit on a great topic that deserves all of us to search deep down for answer.

    I can admit that I cry often when I am at church and for the most part is in complete awe and humbleness towards our awesome God. We get so caught up in “life” on a day to day basis and while we may thank God throughout the day, the time in church is when “life” goes away and I feel and see God presence in its full glory to thank Him for all He has done.

    At times the week for me is like a vacation and I am easliy disrtacted by all the fun things going on around me but all the while missing home and my parents. Sunday I come home and am welcomed into my Father’s loving arms and I tell Him how much I missed Him during the week. I am sometimes so overwhelmed with Him welcoming home that my tears of joy remind me of His unconditional for me love even though I may not of been obedient. I think to myself he has been waiting for me all week while I’ve been playing, working, fighting with my wife or whatever I’ve been doing that has kept me away from Him.

    I love my God and love my church. When I go to His house, my real home, there could could be 2 or 2,00 people and all I feel is His love and it feels great to cry tears of true happiness and gratefulness for His love for me.

  5. Amanda Tyink
    May 21, 2008 at 11:44 am ·

    I was just having a similar conversation about this with some friends back home. We were talking about church and how it should look. Especially for the young people. My friend had invited one of the leaders from his church who he finds wise. The friend asked us if when we were done with church, did our hearts burn? All of them but me said no. I never loved church. I struggled with going. There were moments here and there that I would start to love it. But eventually I would lose my commitment. Now though, I have found a home at Ada Bible and for the first time in my life I LOVE CHURCH. My heart aches when it is over, perhaps because it’ s over, because more has been revealed to me, because I love the community that I sense.

    But I think there is something more. Church needs to be ALIVE. This past Sunday I drove about an hour or more to church. I couldn’t help staying away. When I got there, I read the bulletin, “Annual Church Report” Oh gee…my face fell a bit. Interestingly enough Jeff Manion started the service by asking that the congregation would give the message a chance and still hopefully be filled at the end, understanding clearer where Ada has been, where it is, and where it is going. Then we sang. AHH. Now, I will be the first to jump up and say LIFE IS A WORSHIP SERVICE. We ought not be moved only in worship. We ought not be listening to the Father’s voice only in worship. BUT singing songs that have been sung by thousands around the world, bringing glory to the Lord, that should make us cry. That should make our souls ache for the community of believers around the world. For the ones that are being killed, for the brand new ones who will never face a day a persecution in their life.

    Anyway…there I was singing away. “Mighty to save” HE IS MIGHTY TO SAVE! Oh my heart swelled. Indeed he is. And when we got to the line “He has conqured the grave, Jesus conquered the grave” I let out a “woohoo.” The friends I was sitting with giggled. I refuse to let church die. When we sing words like this, when we listen to our church leaders speak truth we ought to be alive. We ought to be crying, laughing, letting out woo hoos. We need to be alive. OUR GOD IS ALIVE. So please continue to cry. Stay alive. Church should be a place of LIFE. Not of hard benches where people sit stiffly in clothes that smell like starch, tummy’s grummbling for the Sunday supper. NOPE. It should be a place we don’t wanna leave. It should be ALIVE.

  6. JoeSindorf
    May 24, 2008 at 11:43 pm ·

    thanks for the great comments everyone!

    Kat, Alle and I are in Frankenmuth, Michigan for a wedding this weekend (congrats Sarah & Luke!) and I wish we were back in GR for church… we’ll go somewhere Sunday morning, but I want more of what I had last Sunday.

  7. Chris Chesley
    May 27, 2008 at 9:04 am ·

    Gary & I look at each other most every week as church has just ended, and say how thankful we are to be at Bethany Church (bethanychurch.com). Our senior pastor has such passion for teaching truth that transforms. Often when he’s speaking, our hearts well up within us. We’ve been called to live lives worthy of our calling – being part of a healthy church such as ours, is a great blessing and encouragement along the way.

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