theStory Day 1

After it was all over, Joe, Darryl and I were sitting there and I looked at them and I said “well, we did it, we just planted a church.” (theStory) I don’t have a clue what that means. I don’t know how to plant a church. I don’t even know if that’s what we are doing. All I know was that today, for the first time, 23 of us adults and a handful of kids crammed in a living room and talked about our spiritual journeys thus far. And we plan on doing it again. Then again. Weekly on Sunday, we are going to be coming together with these same people and talking about Jesus, church, justice, community and then the other six days we are going to desperately try and live it out together. If that’s what a church is, then yup, it looks like we started a church today.

Part of me is a little scared. Sitting in that room today, I realized that this is going to take longer than I originally intended. When I first thought about planning a church I was very event oriented. I know how to plan an event, and I don’t mean to boast, but I can do a pretty good job. So my idea of planting a church was running killer Sunday services that cool people would want to come to and would actually be relevant to their every day lives etc. Over the last four years, from when I first wanted to plant the church to now, I’ve changed an awful lot. It’s funny that my desire to plant a church never left. Now though, I don’t want to run big events that will attract more people to the event. I want to plant a church, and that means to me a community and that can’t be done by running great events (but let me assure you, will not be without them).

I’m scared because planting a church means that I don’t get to use all those skills that I learned in youth ministry class and the skills I know I have. Now it means long, time consuming, energy consuming relationships. It means inviting people over to my house constantly. It means putting people’s needs before my own. It means a lot of things that for some reason, before I never attributed to planting a church. I’m scared now because these things that I know now builds community are different from the easy to plan, quick results events that I’m used to. Building community doesn’t produce quick results. That scares me. That means that success isn’t noticed quickly. That means I’ll probably be viewed as a failure for a long time.

Jesus, help me remember that your kingdom was advanced by failures. Help me hold to kingdom principles and not worldly ones. Help me remember that a failed messiah saved the world. A crucified saviour made no sense, and neither does what we are doing. We aren’t doing it to make sense. So even if we are viewed as failures, let us keep focusing on what we are doing, and not whether we are viewed as successful or not.

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5 Comments

  • man, I’ve been there when we planted back in 2001, out of a whole background of student ministry and seeker service deals. I relate to your story.

    find peace in the ordinary and simplicity, its the stuff of Kingdom come.

    peace,

  • And The Kingdom advances. Cool.

  • Nathan,

    I feel the same way now, just we’ve been in it for 2-3 years and have figured out the hard way that events will not build community or a church – especially not a missional church in a culture for people who don’t care to check one out.

    Events will have their place – I’m thinking they might again for us but with a much different perspective and purpose – maybe when everyone’s in lots of relationships with their neighbors – but it can’t be the backbone that drives you.

    Excited to hear what happens next… even if next in the long haul journey seems far and inbetween.

  • Nathan … great, honest reflections. As David and Chris have said above, “event” may yet have a place ( again ) somehow, somewhere, but I’d stick to your guns on the changes you have seen this last few years. We’re cautiously de-programming here from an event/program mentality of 1992-2002 and it is tough. I’m convinced the long haul you are talking about is where to invest. “Event” creates expectation, and is extemely labour intensive. What you are talking about is also labour intensive, but relational. I guess it is like trying to get a couple to see that their best work, the best investemnt, goes into their marriage relationship, not the wedding itself, which is here and gone.

    dc

  • Where I see events have failed is expecting people to show up somewhere b/c it’s cool, relevant, or meets a felt need. I’ve seen the down side of this in our context. Plus, what you invite people to, and possibly win them with… you just might turn them into as well (I paraphrased that line from Dom ruso, who got it from a friend)

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