Every now and again I need to say something about the congregation I pastor, Central Baptist Church.
I was explaining our nickname, “The land of misfit Christians,” to the pastor of our Brazilian congregation last night and discovered the word “misfit,” in Portuguese, essentially translates into “de-adjusted.” That explains the ethos of the fellowship about as well as anything.
In many ways Central Baptist look like a “normal” church. We sit in pews, the sanctuary is decorated with incredible stained glass, and our order of worship is fairly typical. I’ve been to churches which advertise themselves as “not church as usual 1.” That is not us. In fact, if people visit us on a week where our worship team is not playing they might even come away thinking we’re a bit “dated.”
It’s not until someone looks at us through a squinted eye they notice how we are just slightly off-kilter. This mostly due to our willingness to laugh at ourselves 2. As a church we seem to have realized we don’t have it all together, and have simply decided we won’t pretend otherwise. Mostly we’re just socially awkward types who probably wouldn’t fit into a “together” church because we wouldn’t know what to do with the strange looks we received after we opened our mouths to speak 3.
This identity is partly my fault. I’ve shown time and time again I can’t function for long in a “normal” environment. If I’m nominally “in charge 4” of a situation for any length of time only the weird are going to survive. I’ve been here nearly thirteen years, “weird” might be all we have left.
So, if you’re in the Philly area, and tend to be a socially awkward type looking into all this “religion stuff,” you might want to pop by some Sunday. I can’t promise the greatest church experience ever, but I can promise you’ll meet people who are authentically weird. These weirdos also happen to both love Jesus and desire to apply his teachings to their lives. Come on and hang our with some other “de-adjusted” people. Maybe the Spirit will do something amazing.
- I find it ironic any church I’ve been two who have this advertising scheme are nearly identical. ↩
- Or me, or both. Sometimes I’m not sure. ↩
- One year we came out about $8 in the black. My Treasurer quipped that we should parlay the money on the Eagles. I don’t see that flying in many churches. In the end we just went out for coffee, so that took care of that. ↩
- I’m a Baptist pastor, the more we try to wield authority, the less we actually have. ↩