Settling in to my fourth year at Bering, one of the things I love the most about this church is that it is not a typical church. Never has been. From our beginnings fifty years ago, this church has never been afraid to challenge “the way things have always been.” While tradition has a beautiful place in our worship and service to others, Bering refuses to get stagnate simply to keep everyone pacified.
For example, Bering was the first congregation in the “Church of Christ” tradition to be fully inclusive of women in the life of the church. That may not seem like a big deal to other denominations, but to us, where many young girls grew up believing that worship was a spectator event for them, it was (and still is) a big deal. And when I say that we are fully “gender inclusive,” this is more than “allowing” a woman to make an occasional announcement at the end of a worship service. In fact, gender inclusivity has become such a part of the life of our church that it is really no longer an issue. It is just the way things are.
One of the reasons I am writing this down is to put it on record here on our new blog and new website. Research tells us that we are supposed to put keywords on our website like “gender inclusive” and “welcoming” and “all ages.” That will bump us up on Google, which will direct more people to Bering.
But with all of the effort to get the website noticed, this is really about church that’s not obsessed with church. Or to put it another way, when church becomes the point of church we miss the point of church. With me so far?
So let’s say, for example, that you are reading this entry, but have never been to Bering. Perhaps you are thinking about coming for a visit this Sunday morning. Let me tell you what you can expect:
You can expect to shake hands with a lot of people. Bering is a welcoming place that loves new faces. We are a family-sized church, so you will not see all the bells and whistles of a megachurch. Instead, you will walk in and see a family. A family practicing authentic faith from week-to-week.
You can expect a pretty simple approach to worship. We sing songs, we read Scripture, we take communion every Sunday, and we preach messages from the Bible that challenge and uplift us. We are a Bible-based church that does not worship the Bible. We worship the Lord, and look to Scripture as a way that God continues to share abundant life with us today.
You can expect to see people of all ages who are joined together as one body. As a family sized church, we practice an intergenerational faith where people from all backgrounds and generations live out our faith and learn from one another. Our children’s classes, for instance, are likely to be taught by any number of our adults who care deeply about sharing our faith with generations to come.
And you can expect to be a part of more than what a website can show you. Most importantly, you can expect to be welcomed into a family.