Yesterday, as we drove home from a prayer meeting, my husband turned to me and said: “We found a gem.”
I knew immediately what he meant. Prior to being led to this dear church, we did not know what our future in ministry would be; however, options began to present themselves in the form of familiar contacts, large churches, and seemingly logical next steps.
But then, as we waited on these options, Billy was contacted by Prairie Bible Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. From the first email, we could tell that this church—this loving, authentic, faithful congregation—was different.
Right away, we were shocked; there was no pretense, no politics, no production to navigate. The church’s motto of “Simple. Authentic. Jesus.” radiated in every correspondence and conversation. When we first visited, this caused me both joy and grief, for I at once rejoiced to see the heart of my Savior in these people and yet was confronted with my own shallowness in looking back toward the flashy people and production of large, contemporary churches.
I can safely say that, having made this leap of faith to serve my husband as he serves this congregation, I have not since looked back. Truly, we have found a gem.
During the prayer meeting, before my husband made this comment, I was pondering the “seeker-friendly” movement. While so many churches obsess over numerical increase under the guise of Gospel growth, I am struck that this church is pursuing faithful, cruciform growth—that is—vertical growth (sanctification) followed by horizontal growth (numerical increase). Over and over, the following phrase turned within my heart:
“Church, do not look to be seeker-friendly; live so as to be worth seeking.”
As this phrase played within my heart, I realized suddenly why the seeker-friendly movement frustrates me: simply put, it does not exist. It is itself a nonentity, offering nothing but a comfortable journey without any real destination. If a church’s entire aim is to appeal to seekers, how will it satisfy those who seek and find? What will those poor souls even find? A precious gemstone is not seeker-friendly but, instead, worth seeking.
We have found a gem. This little church, so dedicated to prayerful living, preaching the Word, and serving the community, is not dressing itself in the immodest trappings of so many contemporary churches. Instead, it is striving by faith to become more and more like Christ, who is the One worth seeking. This church seeks only Christ and, in so doing, invites others to join in the best of journeys. To seek after seekers is to generate a circle in which neither Christian nor non-Christian is fed, in which both will ultimately starve. To seek after Christ and, by living in His love, to then seek the lost—well, that is a church more precious than rubies, for it is a church that is pursuing the truest of treasures.