by Jim Killam | 6-minute read
At the finish of the Broken Wholeness series, we spoke with Pastor Luke Uran about the response, and what’s next for the holidays.
Broken Wholeness has been an unusual series. What sorts of responses have you been receiving?
I have been getting all positive responses. I think a primary reason is that people know they’re not alone in their brokenness. There are others, too, who are part of our congregation, both men and women, who have struggled with the same exact things that they are dealing with. But the reason I have so loved the stories that people have been willing to share is, it always comes back to Jesus. In him we are made whole. I love that. So often we are prone to trying to find our wholeness in the things of this world.
It’s been so encouraging to hear people say, “Oh, so I can talk about some of these things. Because others have experienced what I have.” It’s been a breath of fresh air for us to talk about some of those more-difficult issues that don’t always get touched on in this setting.
And that is not to deter people from seeking help, for example, if they are dealing with depression and anxiety or stress or addiction. It doesn’t mean we don’t see a medical doctor or a counselor. But it means we keep in mind that when it comes to making us whole and being the whole person that God desires for us to be, we do that through the person and work of Jesus.
It’s been encouraging that the sermons and videos haven’t oversimplified these hard topics by saying we just need to pray more, etc.
That’s why as the church we have a list of recommended counselors on our website. We have resources we can turn to. In his ministry on Earth, Jesus would oftentimes step in and meet a physical need of someone, and then turn to the spiritual need. So as a follower of Jesus, I see the two of those going hand-in-hand. It’s not either-or, it’s both-and. The Lord has given us medical research. He’s given us doctors and medicine, counselors to help us process and deal with some of these things we are facing here on this Earth.
Has the return of live, indoor worship services been an important part of this series, too?
I think that aspect of community has been all the more crucial with a series like this. As a church, that is what we are about. We worship together, we grow together, we serve together. We continue to encourage one another, to lift one another up and to love one another in the way Jesus has loved us.
So with church being back inside, I think it’s been good for people to have that sense of normalcy back a little. It’s been comforting.
It still doesn’t feel quite normal, of course. How has the whole move back indoors gone so far?
Overall, it has been great. The church has been overall very respectful and understanding of the guidelines we have put in place and are observing. Obviously, I recognize that’s not ideal. If we were choosing to operate in this mode all the time, of course it would not be what I would want for us. But as we are celebrating our life in Jesus Christ, I can think of no better way to do that than with the church family.
I know for some who are single, who are living by themselves, who haven’t been able to gather with their adult community or life group, it’s been really encouraging and a comfort to get back together.
Summerwood kind of served as a lifeline for some, didn’t it?
We were one of the only churches in town that was still meeting regularly throughout the summer and leading into fall. Summerwood is an amazing resource that we have and I’m glad we put it to use. As a staff team here at the church, we are already talking about doing worship services out there next summer and what that will look like. So I’m excited for that as well. But for right now, just celebrating people being inside again, it’s been great overall.
The next series is called, It’s a Wonderful Life. You’ve said you wanted to do something a little lighter for Christmastime, right?
I thought about what we have all been through this past year—since March with COVID, with national tensions at an all-time high on various levels. The election. And then we’re also coming out of a very heavy-feeling Broken Wholeness series.
There is still a lot of biblical truth we will be unpacking, and we’ll be sharing what the Lord has laid on our hearts. But definitely this series is also meant to give us the warm fuzzies, so to speak, as we head into the Christmas season and Thanksgiving season.
Aside from the movie reference, what do you mean for the title to communicate?
We want to remind people that life in Christ is a wonderful life. It’s a new life. It’s not a life that we once lived. It’s a life that we are called to live now. As we’ll see in the first week, we are called to take off the old self and put on the new self, which is Christ. And to live the life he has for us, not the life the world has for us. Without eternal perspective, we would operate according to the world’s economy or values. Instead we operate according to God’s kingdom economy and what he values. So it’s a different approach, a different perspective.
There’s a weariness and uncertainty that drags on and on with COVID. Is that part of your thinking, too? To acknowledge that this holiday season is going to be weird?
It is. Because of the election it has been heightened, but also in an odd sort of way it has taken some of the focus off of COVID. But the reality is that it is still there. With It’s a Wonderful Life, we still want to remind people that we are living in these different times. We are living with something our generations have never gone through before. It’s entirely different. As we look at this through the view of a follower of Jesus Christ, what does this mean? How do I respond? How do I think differently and speak differently and act differently in light of these circumstances that are taking place around me?
This is going to be a very unusual Christmas season for our church, with so many of the usual celebrations changed or canceled. How is God speaking to you about that?
I think it continues to reprioritize what we are putting importance on. For Jessi and Amelia and me, we are looking at this Christmas season as a season for our family to make sure that we are focusing in with the Lord. Just continuing to look at what he has for us in this season and being willing to sit and learn from that.
There are times when we grieve the loss of something being taken away or put on pause. We are going to continue to celebrate the Christmas season—because it’s worth celebrating. It’s the greatest gift the world has ever seen. We want to be sure we are focusing and making sure that some of the essentials are continuing to be essential. And yet we are being mindful of our neighbors who don’t know Jesus. We want to make sure we are a people who love God and love others.
One of the ways we are doing that is by continuing to do our Sunday services. And we are going to do a Christmas Eve service in some way. But with Christmas Traditions and some of the other celebrations, we are going to hit the pause button this year and come back hopefully bigger and better next year as we continue to reach our community for Jesus Christ.