ELVIN KRISTIAN

 
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What does it mean to be human? 

I am fully alive when I’m joyful. Going out and doing things is against my nature. I am an introvert—we keep to ourselves and don’t really need people. But when I’m keeping to myself, it’s not me. It’s a very sad version of me. The moment I stepped into C3, the service after my first service, I put myself out there. I started carrying stuff. I said, "Can I help with this? Can I do that?"

I like how CS Lewis puts it in The Screwtape Letters. There is an uncle and a nephew demon. The older demon is teaching the younger demon how to manipulate and control people and force them to do crazy stuff, like make war. But the uncle demon breaks down one time; he understands the truth and says—and I’m paraphrasing here—"These puny humans, if they only understood what they have in God. They think God takes everything away from them, but on the contrary. When they give themselves completely He doesn’t take it away; He multiplies it and gives them more. They don’t understand what they have." There are so many things locked inside of us that become unlocked when we step out in faith. 

How do you pursue that humanity?

By branching out. The best connections I have with people at church were forged when I stepped out of my comfort zone. It’s interesting—there’s a thought that, "Oh, I’m going to burn myself out," or as I’ve heard a couple of people say, "I don’t want to get too lost in this church thing; I don’t want to lose myself to this." I’ve been there before, and honestly, if you don't step out you lose a lot, spiritually. The more we give ourselves to God, the more He gives back to us, gives us peace and opens up things we’ve never even thought about. 

That is how it's supposed to be. I can’t just worship and attend and see other people carrying things and not help. There’s no possible way. My hands always get itchy, even when I’m not serving in something. I heard a sermon once from this pastor, who was like, "If I come to a church and see that there are no ushers, I’m going to be an usher." Yes, we are called to do certain things, but God is so interesting. He doesn’t say, "Okay, so this person is a prophet and all he does is preach," or "This person is a janitor and that’s all he does at church is clean." God is gracious in His ways and gives us gifts so we can all partake and give into the church setting in multiple ways. 

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In what ways can we connect and build each other up as humans? 

Partaking was something big at the Søns retreat, when all the men were partaking and carrying each other’s loads. It was a beautiful picture. It was like: let’s do this together every Sunday. It's beautiful when everyone takes part. There are a lot of people on the outskirts who feel like they need to be called to something, but that’s not the picture of Jesus. His followers would drop everything they were doing and come follow Him. A lot of people are waiting to be partakers, for that audible calling from God. But He’s already called us.

What does this mean for the church?

Church, I believe, is Jesus’s dream, and we are living out His dream here in Brooklyn. It’s phenomenal. Everyone is a part of it. I love how the moment I walked in, Filmore said, "You brought something new to the plate." When you gather so many people from different backgrounds with different stories, their stories connect with your stories, and you think, "Oh, there’s an answer to my question," or "That resonates with me." And there you were just partaking and doing something maybe very small from your point of view—but you were doing it and God loves that, because those little things add up. These little things are like colors, and they just add up into a big firework. You can’t paint a picture with just one color. The more relationships you have, the more things you partake in—they’re all colors in the design.

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