For whatever reason this has been coming up a lot lately for me: “I grew up in such-and-such church, but yours doesn’t do all the typical readings.” And I know all too well what they’re saying and why they’re saying it. I’ve been there. I grew up in a Lutheran church and can still yet today recite the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds. I remember my first time going to a ‘non-liturgical’ church (like Cedar Point) and asking my girlfriend, “When are they going to recite the Apostle’s Creed?” At first it drove me crazy because all they did was sing (a whole lot) and listen to a sermon. They didn’t even say the Lord’s Prayer. But I’ll never forget walking away from that experience knowing one thing: yes, it wasn’t church the way I was used to, but man do they love Jesus!
You see, there’s nothing wrong with liturgy and reciting certain things. But for me, those things didn’t mean anything to me. It was just something we did, like at a football game… “stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight!” There’s nothing wrong with reciting the Lord’s Prayer, though that’s not what Jesus had intended for us to do. In Matthew 6:9ff, Jesus never said, “This then is what you should pray.” He said, “This then is how you should pray.” Not what, but how. It was a model prayer meant to teach us how to pray.
And personally, I believe God would rather hear from your heart. That’s what He’s after anyway, is your heart. Where’s your heart at with God? For me, I could recite everything I was taught, yet my heart was far from God. And knowledge without appropriate action is worthless.
At Cedar Point Church, we have this vision ‘to become a church that unchurched people love to attend.’ We want this to be a place where people who have fallen out of church, are maybe skeptical about God and the church, or are even put off by the church, we want this to be a place where people like that can walk in our doors and feel loved and accepted and not judged or rejected. Where maybe they don’t believe what we believe, but when they come here they’ll walk away knowing it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done, YOU matter to God! We don’t get caught up in a bunch of traditions and rituals, yet we’re crazy about Jesus. We learn not to take ourselves too seriously, yet we take Jesus and the Bible seriously; where we are striving to fulfill the Greatest Commandment to love God and love people, and the people don’t have to look like us. That’s my dream for how Cedar Point is going to look.
So when are we going to recite the Apostle’s Creed? Probably never. Though we’re not liturgical in style, my hope is you’ll walk away saying, “It’s not church the way I’m used to, but man do they love Jesus!”