Starting Over After Two Weeks

“I don’t want you to organize some amazing thing on Sunday for me to experience this as church.” These are the words that poured out of a girl at our second meeting as a new church plant. These are the words that as a team that has been planning this church plant for almost two years and been dreaming about it for four could have written down at the beginning. These are also the words that we sort of pushed to the side of ideals that would shape the look of theStory.

As Joe, Darryl and I begun the planning process of this new endeavour, it was essential to us that we didn’t make this all about Sunday. We didn’t want Sunday to be a performance or the entire focus and we didn’t want Sunday to encapsulate the totality of everyone’s spiritual lives in those few hours. Within two weeks, we had already begun to stray from this discipline. Our time was going to organizing Sunday (even though it looked much different than a traditional service). We spent the week doing paperwork, websites, meetings and most things that were non-relational and then got ourselves up for the ‘next service’ and planned ourselves for it. That only took two weeks. That was until of course this girl, Steph, said she didn’t care for it.

Then we were all reminded that Sunday wasn’t our sacred cow anymore. We were reminded that we’re going to be doing things a lot differently than what we are used to and that taking an attendance on Sunday no longer holds much value. We were reminded how easy it is to get caught back up in the old ways of doing church. We were reminded about how easy it is to simply do a Sunday remix than completely re-work the way church is done. It could be because we are only two weeks in and there is all kinds of start-up things that none of us really prepared for that is taking up all our time. However, we are looking at it as a warning. A warning that says may as well stop now before you start throwing on amazing events that draw the crowds that give us false impressions of success and then there goes any sort of church plant.

We sat in the Coffee Lodge and wrote a list of fifteen things that we wanted theStory to look like and be. Beside each thing/characteristic we wrote in columns ‘Church’ and ‘Outside of Church’ and we began to rate. How much of our community building would be done on Sunday; how much would be done on the other six days? Down the list we went. We realized that this church plant is going to look so drastically different than anything we were used to and its going to take some major discipline to keep it that way. Most things were either 50/50 or 80/20, with the emphasis being on the other six days. It’s a little nerve racking because I don’t really know how to be a pastor seven days a week, I’m used to only a few hours a week.

So two weeks in isn’t that bad to realize this. I’m glad it is two weeks and not twenty years. So here we go again, starting from scratch, two weeks in and praying that God leads us towards him and not towards ourselves.

5 Comments

  • Really appreciated your thinking on the issue of church. I realized about 3 years ago that for the sake of the church, maybe we should stop meeting on Sun mornings. Maybe we should learn about Church the other six days of the week. Its amazing how much energy and pressure is put onto the church for 3 hours a week. Thanks for having the guts to imagine more. I’d like to continue dialoguing with you as your team develops this.

  • Pastors work more then one day a week?

  • You know, sometimes the old ways are that way for a reason.

    I am trying to do an ecclesiastical, ritualistic, home church. We have the Eucharist, hopefully ever week alternating Sundays and Thursdays.

    It’s a time for stepping out of the world, and realizing we are Children of God, in the world but not necessarily of it.

    It’s not a time for building community, although the community comes together at that time. We do have a bit of fellowship afterwards, and we meet often during the week, but the ritual is there as a focus, a reminder every week to reflect on what we’ve done, where we are going, and how the divine fits into that mold.

    I truly applaud you for trying to bring the experience of church outside of Sunday, but don’t forget: That experience is valuable. It’s worthwhile to step outside of our lives of websites and coffee-clutches, and have the experience of the divine. That’s the purpose of the ritual.

    I do agree, though: Being a pastor is tough, especially if you’re a tentmaker as well.

    May grace be with you,

  • It took us 3 weeks but we have SO been there done that….still going through it.

    I hope you continue to blog about your experiences because I would like to see how this revelation fleshes out in your community since we’re working through the same stuff with Revolution (www.3drevolution.wordpress.com). I could have written this exact same thing just this week.

    I really like your “read, think, pray” recap thing …mind if I steal it?

  • Personally I was a little upset that Joes living room wasnt bigger…. I cant wait until we build a multimillion dollar facility..

    I have some awesome ideas for light work I have been prayerfully considering.

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