A couple weeks ago I was in Los Angeles with an interesting mix of people. There were Canadian, Asians, Hispanics, Russians, African Americans and Caucasians. Some groups were loud and expressive, some were reserved, some were vocal and some were introspective. Some waved their arms in worship, some danced, some seemed prayerful, some sang out and some sang softly. And there in the middle of the crowd was our group of New Englanders with hands in pockets and eyes trained on the Powerpoint lyrics singing in a way not to disturb anyone. The amazing thing? We all fit perfectly and were at home.
It was my second encounter with the Evangelical Covenant Church planting crew. I enjoyed it even more than my first.
I’ve served in Advent Christian Churches and Baptist Churches always able to steer clear of the little distinctives working to present rescue in Christ. I never realized that I am a “pole” guy and not much of a “fence” guy. I discovered that truth with my new ECC friends.
One of the conference speakers described the ECC as a “pole” denomination. I listed intently mostly because he was describing me. The ECC group, he said, is many different methods and expressions all going out from the same pole of salvation in Christ alone. That rang true with me.
Some of the churches I have served in have been defined by restricting fences rather than a central unifying pole. Their fences keep them in and put up walls so that they cannot appreciate or interact with others who worship Christ. I’ve never been much of a fence guy.
Have you ever seen a toddler in one of those little fenced in areas? My wife hates those things. Our kids explored. They toddled around, tested things and enjoyed playing. As they would toddle, they would often stop and look back to spot us and get their bearings. We were their “pole.”
I’ve always been biblical but not doctrinaire. I’m a pole guy.
While I sat listing, I thought of the pole and I thought of our church plant name “Axis.” We chose Axis because we saw it representing the center of our faith. The axis, the pole, the center – Jesus Christ. It’s making sense to me now.
Colossians 1:16-17 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.