The Big C Church

“They’re all here to hear John Ortberg, don’t you think?” a first-time attendee at this morning’s Catalyst Lake County “Bonfire” gathering wondered aloud.

Warm conversation filled the room as 400+ congregational leaders, community builders, non-profit heads and church champions representing over 75 churches from Lake County, IL (and beyond) spent the morning talking, laughing, weeping, schmoozing, worshiping and praying together. 
Hearing a well-known speaker like Ortberg was definitely a draw for some. But for many others, simply discovering the joy and power in coming together in Christ as the big C Church is the draw for these events. I know this is the hook for me. I think I could have listened to Jane Smith read the Round Lake phone book this morning and I would have been just as delighted to be a part of today’s gathering, though I did enjoy hearing Mr. O.
I’ve had the privilege of writing a few of these stories describing God’s work in this region since last summer for Catalyst. (If you’re curious, you can take a look at the stories by going here, then clicking on the “News” button at the top of the page. Click on “local news” and pick a month or two to read a small sampling of the stories on the site.)  
There’s a lot of excitement and interest coming in from other parts of the country about what it means to be loving and serving Christ together here in Lake County. Even with this interest from other places, it still comes down to both responding in surrender to Jesus, and in humility to one another to those walking beside us. In Jesus’ final high priestly prayer for us, He asks His Father to set us apart, unify us, and send us to proclaim His life and character.
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one…As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (John 17:11, 18, 19)
Every once in a while (like today), I get a tiny glimpse of what the answer to this prayer might just look like.
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