It’s time to release another record and with a new record comes a new season in my walk with Christ. I think that’s why my life, moods, interactions, and thoughts become so intense right before a recording project. A new album means it’s also time for growth and change in me.

It’s funny how that works isn’t it? I am learning about what I am singing about. I don’t ever completely believe what I’m writing until after the song is finished. More often then not I think I actually write from a place of lack. I write what I desperately want to believe is true and with my past two projects it was at the end of the recording process that the message I had been writing about became alive to me and I suddenly just…got it.

This time has been different because I feel like I have not been allowed to finish the EP until I have grasped the message. Over the last few months without knowing it God has taken me on a journey and been doing some amazing stuff in my life that has needed to happen for about three years now.

The new record is called “Time for Love” and I am launching a campaign along with it called “I heart the Church” www.iheartthechurch.com I know it sounds cool right?  The problem is that for the last 2 years after leaving a staff position at a church I grew busy with music and really have not belonged to a community since then. To be honest it wasn’t just music…. that’s an easy excuse.

I’ve grown up in church my whole life. I have seen it all and heard it all and at some point in the last few years I began to completely dislike church. This negative and jaded view had crept in and I couldn’t deal. It got so bad that sometimes I would even get anxiety when I would step foot in a church building or when people would try and talk to me. Talk about a crisis of my faith. For the last 2 years I have felt so…. stuck.

I was driving to church a few months back and thinking about the new record and “I heart the church” when I began to panic because well…. I didn’t heart the church. In fact I couldn’t stand it. I was being a total hypocrite because I didn’t believe any of what I was outwardly representing.

A few days later I talked to a dear friend about it and was totally honest with her. I am so glad we talked that day because she said something to me that began the change in my heart. She said, “Where is the church failing you? What is it not doing for you right now?” I started trying to respond because of course I had a list I was prepared to give her but I stopped. I couldn’t think of anything to say. The church wasn’t the problem. It was me. I was looking at the church in such a wrong light. I had become jaded and indifferent because for so long I was not connected to a COMMUNITY. I know it’s a term we use often in churches and even have movements around it but I truly had lost touch.

You know you have all heard the term “the church is the people not the steeple” but have you ever stopped to really think about what that means? I can tell you one thing…it’s not about the Sunday morning service alone. Yes the corporate gathering is crucial but the breakthrough in my life happened through spending time with the people and through the people loving and accepting me. They were patient and put up with my attitudes and sour disposition on Sundays.

My church is not a church I would have pictured myself at but the people have stolen my heart and that has made me love this church. Every part. Do I agree with everything? No because there is no perfect church. People are messy and if the church is the people then it’s going to be messy sometimes.

When you love someone you look past their imperfections and see with a different lens. You see them with a lens of love. You are able to accept their shortcomings and see their beauty.

To heart the church is to love the people, your community, and your pastors. It’s not about the program or the music or the building. It’s about the people. That’s what matters. We look past the shortcomings of people and put on the lens of love.

I heart the church is for the people. It’s for you. It’s for a generation that is going to miss out on fully experiencing all Christ has for them if they don’t find a community and plug into it. The church IS God’s plan. The church is the hope of the world. The church is necessary. The church is alive. The church is beautiful. The church is hope. The church is freedom. The church is salvation. The church is restoration. The church is acceptance. The church is forgiveness. The church is redemption. The church is passionate. The church is joy. The church is selfless. The church is strength. The church is security. The church is safety. The church is love. The church is…YOU.

I have been trying to write this for the past six months now but could not share about the record until I allowed God to change me.

My heart is that this record will touch a generation that has given up on the church. My hope is that those of us who are in the church will be moved with compassion to reach people and not give up on them. To get out of our seats on Sundays and begin to love those around us. In our families, in our work places, in our schools.

If the love of Christ is TRULY manifest in the church, it will become irresistible.

I heart the church…. do you?