I love worshiping with Eric Olson in a church that gets the “AND”
One thing I love about Mountain Christian Church is that it is a church that totally gets the “AND.” The…
One thing I love about Mountain Christian Church is that it is a church that totally gets the “AND.”
The AND is a mature understanding of what it means to be the Body of Christ as we live out the mission of Jesus. It refuses to be shortsighted and get jerked into either / or thinking. “Are you an ‘attractional’ church OR a ‘missional’ one?” is the wrong question. We don’t fall for that pretend dichotomy. I understand the helpful corrective intended by the distinction, but it presents a false choice. Jesus was always on mission; and he was attractive. As the Body of Christ today, we should be the same, to the degree he was.
So I love Mountain because of the journey we’re on, a path toward living out the AND. On the one hand we realize that God’s Church is a whole lot more than the weekend experience. Anyone who hangs out at this place quickly figures out that Christ followers aren’t primarily called to “go to church” but to “be the church.” A big part of our energy is spent sending people away from the central gathering place, to be on mission for Jesus by investing in people and serving in His name. I love that Mountain is known as a people who serve in humble, huge ways all over our region and around the world. The weekend is only a visible tip of a huge ice berg of what God does through Mountain.
So one part of the AND is about how we are the church “SCATTERED.” I love what’s happening as Mountain people increasingly see that our great contribution is not in our seating capacity but our sending capacity. And that their own lives are about being on mission where God puts them.
But the other side of the AND is that we are also the church GATHERED. Every missional movement eventually figures out that it’s not just a good idea but an absolute necessity to gather the missionaries together for worship, vision, teaching, and encouragement. We think of our weekend worship experiences at our campuses as huddles – the locker room talk that prepares the players to get back in the game. Weekend worship gatherings are not the game itself, not the goal, but a means to an end. Worship gatherings are the place where God’s missionary people come together to praise and worship and thank God for what He is doing in a way that we can’t accomplish on our own, privately. Like the Ravens in the locker room at half-time we review the game plan, look over the play book (the Bible), and remind ourselves what our calling and mission truly is – a life that is lived out in worship not just by singing our songs and praying together “in here,” but by living on mission “out there.”
And it so happens that God has given us a weekend worship experience with music and teaching and environment that fuels the mission incredibly well.
One of many reasons our weekends are awesome at Mountain is Eric Olson, who has been worship arts pastor here at Mountain for a long time. Over the last decade we’ve been privileged to share in some holy moments where God has done some amazing things at Mountain. We have often looked at each other and said, “We are so blessed to be a part of this.” I often tell him what a joy it is to serve Jesus alongside him. I say that in part because as well as anyone on the planet, he is able to help me find my way into the presence of God in worship. I’m grateful for that, and you are, too. But it’s also been a joy to do life with Eric. He’s a great guy, a devoted Christ follower, and the real deal. We’ve raised our kids together, hit various age markers together (he’s considerably older than I am). He and Traci and their kids are dear to us.
This weekend at Mountain we’ll be singing a brand new song Eric wrote. It’s part of his EPIC journey – and now it can be part of all of our EPIC stories. I asked Eric to talk about the song, and here is what he said.
I’m grateful to serve with Eric in the greatest work of the world. It’s truly EPIC – a story only God could tell.