Friday, December 20, 2002

Now with all this talk about simple church, home church, movements and what not.......I'd like to pose a query.

Here we are in Oxford with our two little house churches just over two months old as of this posting. We aren't experts in this realm but we know/sense the "rightness" or "oughtness" of doing church this way. And we're not even sure what this "way" is......whether it should be THAT way or THIS way or the OTHER way. That we aren't in the forefront making waves, drawing all the crowd, stirring the buzz amongst the big-name competitors.....the hip, the cutting edge-- poised to ride the next new confirmation enough. (Granted, we could be oblivious, sluggardly bums).

Some miss the adrenaline rush of having to pump up the next big "show" (a la the Sunday-to-Sunday big event). I don't. A decentralized, flattened leadership structure and slim overhead is way out of control and methinks I like it. It isn't as if this is something we did because some of the coolest people I know are doing it (and they are.....they are cool for divine reasons). Through a curious string and a network of interpersonal relationships God has placed in our lives, he has shown us a stepping stone in our direction for creating community, making disiciples, etc. We spent a year-and-a-half simply seeking (okay....alternately seeking and watching) just HOW we were going to do community and WHAT it would look like. We abandoned some preconceived agendas and "puttered" around to see what God had been doing here. Over this time period, the waiting and watching was fruitful and everywhere we looked, our vision was funnelled through this sieve of simplicity.

We are passionate for young adults. That is why we are in Oxford. God has given us ample opportunity to spiritually "father" and "mother" several of these whom God has placed in our lives and hearts, many of them having shared our house for months at a time (and some still lined up to come live with us). We have taken in spiritual children because they have been brought to us. They come in because we invite and I know we are not the only ones, but this is new to us and we (my wife and I) are growing into this. I know it has something to do with what God wants to do here and in this emerging generation.

I don't know if this is a prototype of something better to come....probably it is. But what I see now is SO foreign, compared to my expectations upon entering this field. This is the way God is doing discipleship....only now, the classroom is our house and the text book is our open lives. We have been priveleged to even disciple pagans in this kind of live-in set-up. I think God might want us to take this even further. More on that later.

Is there much evidence pointing toward a simple church movement among strategic age-ranges or even with attention to sub-cultures contained within the emergent post-modern generations lurking the globe now? Is a simple church movement possible within a highly transitional community within a university setting? Can there be strategy that avoids the peril of programmatica? Can there be a true, grass roots "house" church movement among students that doesn't have to masquerade as a "campus ministry" or a "para-church" thingy or be qualified as "student ministry".......(all terms which I find quite limiting)?

Maybe I am myopic. Maybe my young-puppishness betrays what reality is. I know I haven't seen it all yet. I know we are not breaking new ground in God's grand tapestry. But I like what I see so far and can't our little thread be something special and unique for this place?