Thursday, December 16, 2010

Changes (Part 1)

This semester was one that had huge potential from the onset. Sara and I made some big decisions this summer and last spring that we knew would spark some really great outcomes this semester. We were leaving our comfy mega-church to participate in what we felt like was a more faithful expression of what we believe the Lord desires his church to be. We moved into a different residence hall and I became a full time employee at ACU. And I was planning to start a new monastic community in the residence hall. So as you can imagine, we were thrilled to get things underway.

The next series of blogs will be about some of these changes mentioned above. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on some of the work the Lord is doing in and through these changes... First things first. Here is the reflection of our change in our expression of the gathered church community. I would also like to throw a disclaimer out for those that know the congregation we were a part of. My descriptions about this particular place, are not indeed about this particular place exclusively. They are more a reflection on our experience of institutional churches. This just happens to be the one we were a part of. Thus I refer to it as "comfy mega-church." I simply use this pseudonym so that those who are there can know that I am truly not attacking them in any way. Hopefully you can find some humor in this.

Let's get started... Because of all of the unique ways that we were planning on making transitions this semester we had really great expectations. Expectations about what it might be like to leave comfy mega-church, and what a simpler form of church would look and feel like.

We had mixed feelings and strong convictions about this change. We believed that we could no longer contribute to the dualistic and consumeristic institution that we had been part of for the last 5 years. The Lord was calling us to something more holistic and faithful to the Church Jesus died to give flight too, something that looked more like the New Testament church. We also hurt knowing the relationships that we would undoubtedly leave behind. Even though I was tied deeper into the community at comfy mega-church because I was on staff, Sara expected to experience the most pain due to leaving the people. I expected to break ties without any consequences or ill emotions (this was foolish). I was simply excited about the change to become more intimate with our new house church community. I was excited about the change to become more like Jesus through the relationships in our house church that went deeper than many had become at comfy mega-church.

The transition from comfy mega-church to the house church has not exactly gone according to our plan. We stuck to our convictions and what we felt the Lord calling us to do, but “the detox” as I have affectionately called it, has been far more painful that I expected. During the first month of the detox I experienced an extreme amount of “emotional flux.” I felt lonely and detached often. I really felt like I had lost a big part of who I was as a human. When you work in a large "successful" church for several years and grow a ministry from next to nothing to the size of the campus ministry when I left, you tend to gain much of your identity from this position. Everyone knows you as the campus ministry guy and when you’re good at it, you like that mantra, as unhealthy as it my be. The difficult part was that I expected to simply jump into intimacy with the people in our house church. I did my best to really jump into it by being as open as I could through both the things I shared with the group, and the honesty of emotion in which I did it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy as that. Others in the group still had a lot of things going on and hadn’t felt the same convictions about stepping out of institutional church (several were and are a part of institutional churches, and thats okay it just slows down our progress a bit because of time constraints). This made it all the more painful. However, I learned that you simply can’t jump into relationship. It takes time and I am beginning to see these relationships form in meaningful ways.

We have come a long way in the last 5 months however. Much faster than I really even thought possible, even if I wanted it to go faster. I really feel great about where our house church is going. Sara and I had Rosten, Ben, Emily, Laura and KT come over this Sunday morning to cook breakfast, eat, play wii and hang out with each other. This is the kind of thing I want to do on a more regular schedule to help our relationships flourish. It is really great to be in community with people that you can play with and truly invest spiritually and otherwise with. Its actually a really rare combination to find both in the same people. We are beginning to see this and it is a blessing.

Like I said this is part one (of 3 or 4 to come in the following days). I haven't even gotten rilled up yet. Talk to ya then.


胖嘟嘟 said...

"I was excited about the change to become more like Jesus through the relationships in our house church that went deeper than many had become at comfy mega-church. "

I agree whole-heartedly with what you said.

Jordan said...

Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you have found a way to follow Jesus that works better for you.