It's been so wonderful on so many levels to travel through the churches of the Christian & Missionary Alliance. I've met so many people that really make the CMA work...both on the local level, and also on the national and international levels.
I've been so blessed by many godly people who don't even recognize the depth of their own spirituality; I could spend hours listening to these saints as they unintentionally teach me about the inner workings of the Holy Spirit in their own lives.
I've met others who talk about their personal pedigrees. They can go on at length about how long they've been in the CMA, how many missionary/pastor relatives they have. Often times this is fun since I've met their kin and we can share in the tapestry that is our Alliance family. Other times its troubling.
Recently, while speaking to a group, I mentioned that I didn't grow up in the CMA, but found it while in high school. During the dinner which followed a woman sat down across from me and said, fairly declaratively, "You said you didn't grow up in the CMA...I was born and raised in it." And then the pedigree started.
After a few moments I said, "That's great! Have you ever been on a missions trip anywhere?" Her face went blank.
"Ah... no, I haven't," she responded, beginning to look elsewhere.
"Oh, come on now," I said with a smile on my face. The disconnect between the pedigree recitation and personal experience obvious.
"Well, you know, there are those fears I have."
"Yes, I know...I have them too," I replied.
A moment later the conversation turned a corner as one her children approached and I went on to chat with the other people around us.
I hear a lot of pedigrees from people, how they share in the lineage of the CMA. That's nice. What I want to hear is not about their pedigree, but about their passion, how they share in the vision of the CMA. Tell me about your walk with God! Let me sit at your feet and learn from you! Let the fire of my own heart grow as I hear your story, your longing for the Kingdom of God and the coming of Jesus.
I praise God for the great physical and spiritual lineages many of us share. I praise God for how he has used multiple generations of families within the CMA to accomplish his purposes. Yet I praise God even more for those kindred spirits I find along the journey, those who are impassioned, not by their pedigrees but by the quiet, yet powerful work of the Spirit in their lives.