home group? church? ekklesia? gathering? horde?

Here's an update on all this homegroup stuff. Bellicose. Pathetic. Hackneyed. Pointless. Moribund. These are just some of the words I will not be using in this blog entry. Have you ever felt totally inadequate for something yet it falls together perfectly--seemingly miraculously? There's the situation in a nutshell. B and Andy and Matt and Sarah and I just thought it might be great to begin to contact and invite people to a group that were not already connected to anything. Some people we contacted were suspicious about our motives, our qualifications, maybe even our orthodoxy or (more likely) ortho-praxy. Others were suspicious without us even contacting them. But so many people, hesitant or not, responded that yes, in fact they were longing for community and no, watching TV alone or with a small non-human mammal didn't constitute community. So suddenly 20 people showed up and even though the other four "founders" are experienced, wonderful, God-fearing people, I was still terrified. Though we're not all 100% in league with the following statement--and have not as of today accepted any corporate sponsorships endorsing one particular model of church vs. another (who needs models anyway?)--the "radical" vision we're raggedly attempting to implement in our group is based on three premises. [All of these are based on scripture that i don't have references for :-)] First, that everyone has been gifted in one way or another by God for the expansion of his Kingdom. Second, that everyone is responsible for working out their salvation with fear and trembling/carrying their cross daily in the expansion of the Kingdom. Third, that we are all to bear each other's burdens/"the greatest among you will be the servant of all." To some degree, we're trying to work out Bonhoeffer's Life Together and/or John Wimber's axiom "Everyone can play." And I constantly feel dwarfed by the saints around me. Every Sunday afternoon, we have three to four hours of breaking bread together, crying out to our Father together, studying how to be more like Christ together. Every week, I walk away mystified by the ability of the Spirit to work through us--no matter our previous experience or training. People that have no professional (or even layman) expertise are capable of making the most profound insights at the right time. I know we want everyone to have perfect hermeneutics or worship-leading skills but in a small community working these things out--one where people are committed to understanding one another and taking mutual accountability seriously--we've been blessed to avoid so many pitfalls and still allow pretty much anyone to lead whatever they want. It's fully-participatory stuff. Well, this is an unsatisfactory blog entry. I'd be interested in any comments/questions about specifics in the group. To a certain extent, we're making this up as we go along and really trying to wait on the Lord to direct us. That being said, I feel much more scripturally and spiritually sound than I have before. This being-responsible-for-yourself-and-your-community thing is rewarding and tiring and challenging and unexpected and whatever all at the same time.


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