Someone recently wrote on my blog’s fb wall :
So…seriously. How did you start your home church and how does it work? I’m so sick of church.
And then I replied with something insightful and inspirational.
You see, in Georgia when we finally, painstakingly, reached the point where we were ready to leave the institutional church, we were fairly embedded in community already. We had made connections and friendships for years in the area so we already knew a handful of people who were interested in a similar journey. So it was really very simple, once we got up the nerve. Pour box of organic gathering mix in bowl, just add holy water, stir and: POOF. You’ve got yourself an easy bake church.
But this time? Um, we don’t now anybody. We’re on a Christian campus surrounded with traditional church suggestions. Googling “house churches” in our immediate area has proved fruitless. So what to do? Do we simply “unchurch” like several people, whom I respect and who are full of grace, have sought to do? Which, in my limited understanding, involves seeking the community and encouragement of whomever God naturally places in your day to day life, typically without an “organized” religion aspect to life at all but with a deep centeredness around God’s word and seeking his Spirit in your life.
Or do we dare to dip our toe into institutionalized waters again? To be sure, if we had stayed in south Georgia it would be unlikely that we would have sought traditional church again considering the what we knew of the religious culture. However, starting over in a place so far away, where the people are much more diverse, and the religious climate seemingly much more open-minded … we sit unsure.
I do desire community, but seeking an institution still brings instant flutters of uncomfortable butterflies in my stomach. We’ve been burned. More than once. And we’re like a wounded animal, ever wary of the consequences of our past encounters. So no, I don’t feel inherent peace about seeking out a traditional church setting. But we haven’t ruled it out entirely yet.
One of the many hesitancy’s I feel revolves around suspecting that our motives are a bit out of place again. Close to the very heart of our reasoning is that we will need literal, individual, financial support to seek work overseas one day. And the most likely place to find that is finding us a big ole church to plunk ourselves down into. However, that very obviously hasn’t worked for us in the past, so would this time be any different? (This is the part where I start walking around in circles about how this isn’t the American Bible Belt anymore and maybe it will be different this time.) And yet I remained unconvinced.
I suppose the expected conclusion to come to here is that we’ll “pray about it”. So I reckon that’s what we’ll do.