The Ups and Downs of an Organic Church

By | June 19, 2009

I’ve had a couple of blogs I’ve been wanting to write, but as I believe I’ve mentioned, I’ve been pretty busy—too busy perhaps. I did want to talk some more about church. I don’t think I’ve written any updates in the past month or two.

It seemed as though our house church was starting to pick up some momentum. We were having a handful of people meeting pretty consistently every week for a month or two. Then suddenly one week, almost everyone stopped showing up. And it wasn’t just for a week or two. Most people haven’t come back, at least not more than once. And the times when more people have been there, people haven’t stayed in the same room. Additionally, our meetings had little substance. We’d still do communion, and a little prayer, but the rest of the time was mainly goofing off. The last time I had tried to read something, half the people there fell asleep within minutes!

At first I felt frustrated by this. I was wondering if we should just shut it down and quit continuing trying to meet. Then I thought about it and started to get more excited. I recognized from what I’ve heard, that these things are rarely smooth, but are rather messy. I figured this meant we must still be on the right track, even though it looked like things were completely falling apart. Even so, I still returned to questioning whether we should try to continue, since there have only been a few of us involved, and we seem to have been doing little worthwhile.

I brought up what I was thinking last week, and we had some really good conversation. While we were talking, an idea hit me. It should have been obvious, but I hadn’t thought of it. I was talking about how Frank Viola keeps emphasizing focusing on Christ. I wanted us to do that, but I didn’t really know how. Then I realized that for a while I had been trying to teach people about church, attempting to give them a vision of what it could be. That might have been ok, but it didn’t seem to be working or helping much. What we needed to do was start practicing what we wanted to be doing.

Our meetings have been open, but yet most people haven’t been sharing much. There has been one exception, “prayer time”. That is something which has been bothering me for quite a while, because while I had tried some to change the focus, “prayer time” has meant not praying so much as everyone going around and talking about their problems. It seems very narcissistic (self-focused), especially when I believe we should be trying to focus on Christ. Now I do think it is important to know what is going on in each other’s lives, and share each other’s burdens. However I think we should be in enough contact with people outside of the church meeting to know what’s going on. I’d really like to see prayer time be about praying and talking to God, not just talking about ourselves.

The idea that hit me was this: instruct everyone who attends that they should plan to share something about Jesus every week. The idea is for everyone to share anyway, but right now it seems that people need extra encouragement. This makes people think about what they are putting into church, and hopefully makes them prepare themselves more. It also hopefully will make us more aware of God during the week, as we look for things to share with everyone else.

So, it’s yet to be seen exactly how this will go, but for now the experiment continues.

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