Today continues a blog series I’m running on Mondays entitled So You Say You’re a Church Lady: An Interview Series with Powerhouse Women. As a pastor’s wife, I care deeply about what God is doing in and through the many local churches that dot our nation and our world, and in this series you and I will get to hear from women who are changing the world through their local churches. Most are pastor’s wives, and all of them are following Jesus with passion and purpose. Today I want to introduce you to Elizabeth Griffin from Lark & Bloom. She’s planted churches, lived overseas, and has a deep love for the church. She also helps lead UnBound, which is an anti-trafficking organization run through her church, and is also something that I care deeply about. Liz has got some great things to say–read below!
1. Tell us a little bit about the church that you are a part of.
I attend Antioch, which is a local church in Waco. Over the years, Antioch has grown into a network of churches all around the world. The Antioch movement is what I have essentially grown up in. When I was in junior high, my family moved to Russia to start an Antioch church there. Later in life my husband and I attended Antioch’s church planting school and moved to Seattle to plant a church.
A few years ago, we moved back to Waco where my husband, Jady, is on staff at Antioch. Is this giving you any kind of indication about how much I love and believe in my church? Pretty much the local church is my jam.
2. What does it look like, in your life, to be an active part of your church?
Being active in my church has looked a billion different ways in various stages of my life. When Jady and I moved to Seattle I co-led the church plant with him. It was very much a partnership and I had a great deal of involvement. After my kids were born I scaled back some and mostly supported him in ministry. (Not that you have to, I just decided it was best for me at the moment.)
Now, I volunteer withUnBound. This is our church movement’s anti-trafficking arm. We have chapters at Antioch churches around the world and I have the privilege of helping develop strategy and equipping local communities to fight human trafficking in their own cities. It’s pretty much my dream.
3. How are your unique gifts and abilities strengthened by being a part of a local church?
I think being connected to the local church really sets me free. My tendency is naturally to be all things to all people. Err, try to be all things to all people. Being part of a community allows me to let others take on things better suited to their gifts and callings.
Also, I think the church is a great place to risk. It is an environment full of encouragement, grace and an understanding that God can cover all my weaknesses. The church has allowed me to grow in my skill versus demanding I have it all together–because I don’t have it all together and learning curves can be messy business sometimes. I doubt a non-profit would have risked on letting me be a part of forming an anti-trafficking organization, but the church has.
The church is a safe place for me to risk and grow because we get that God can take broken and weak people and create something fantastic.
I mean, it’s the Gospel.
4. How has being part of a church challenged and changed you?
I would not be who I am if it were not for the church.
Church has taught me so much about who I am. I have learned to show myself grace. People have lovingly helped me see my rough edges and sat with me as I allowed God to sand them down. I’ve learned I don’t have to compete with people. They are my teammates and my biggest advantage.
Church has also shown me so much more of who God is than I could see on my own. Watching someone give financially out of their own need models faith for me. People being vulnerable with their own struggles and victories teaches me so much about how God works in my life.
5. Why do you value church? What do you love about church?
I guess you could say that I value church because I really believe that it is God’s tool for reaching the earth. I know that sounds kinda cliché, but I have never seen anything like the church. In all the countries I’ve been to around the world, the local church is pivotal to a community’s health.
Even with all the flaws and shortcomings no other group of people has impacted the world like the church has. When you get a group of people committed to God, to each other and the people around them – nothing can top that.
How much do I love the church? If I could do a herkie without pulling my hamstring, I totally would.
Liz, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us about church (wish I could see you nail that herkie)! I love your vision for the church and the passion you have to see God’s purposes fulfilled through the church.
Get to know Liz more at her blog, Lark & Bloom!