Saturday, October 27, 2007
When I was younger I used to preach, "you say you want a revival, well good, God is not looking for a revival, he is looking for a revolution, a revolution of the heart and mind." It was like a prophecy. A prophecy that I did not fully understand. Over the years at different times I have thought that I understood what these words meant, and then, it slipped away again.
I was part of the embryonic forms of the emerging church movement back in Australia. I sat under the tutelage of Alan Hirsch for 6 years. I now think that many of the ideas people were throwing around in our community were a yearning. A yearning for what church is supposed to be. We all knew something was wrong with the church. The western church is gasping for air.
We knew that church was supposed to be about community. But some how, we inadvertently missed how much it is supposed to be about Jesus. It was like it was "on the tip of our tongues" but just not articulated well enough. As a community a church plant was attempted in the form of a restaurant. Sadly that went bust. But that is ok, I don't think God wanted people to come to that restaurant anyway.
I was also involved in a different church plant during those years. It lasted about 18 months in total, and then failed. We were trying to aim at community too, but some how we were still using old paradigms to attempt this.
I have just picked up a book called "Organic Church" by Neil Cole. Four chapeters into the book I already find myself saying "I want what they have, that is they way church is supposed to be." I don't want to go back to what I know church to be either.
Let me just throw out a few of my thoughts so far. These are not all well articulated yet as I am still reading the book and my thoughts are in process. But this is a MUST READ I can tell you. Please pick it up and tell me what you think.
Here are my thoughts and some quotes from the book (the quotes are from my head and so could be a bit paraphrased), these come from a Skype chat I was having earlier today:
i am reading a very radical book at the moment and LOVING it
it is called "the organic church" by Neil Cole
in six years their movement have planted over 700 churches in 23 states and 31 countries
their church sounds so attractive, i want what they have, and a hole in my mind has been revealed about what i always thought was wrong with the church
i used to say to people "God does not want a revival, he wants a revolution"
i always wanted to know exactly what that meant, and some times i have thought i knew, but i think this is the revolution God wants
God wants peoples hearts
first: Jesus is not first in the church
people are playing church, building their own kingdoms and physical buildings
a few quotes:
"we lowered the bar on church and raised the bar on discipleship"
"delay your building project for 300 years"
"lives transformed and conversions are part of our ongoing experience on a weekly basis"
"i bumped into someone in the next street who had just started a new church, which happens to be in our same movement"
"he was converted before we even got to the "message" but then intimate fellowship with God and each other IS the message right?"
they have churches in parking lots, pubs, and even one started up in a strip club for the women who were working there, even though it would eventually move out of that location
churches are usually not larger than 15 or 20 people, not because there is a limit or anything, but because they are constantly reproducing
and it has naturally spread overseas
they wanted to start a coffee shop, when God spoke to him and said no, just go and spend time at the local coffee shop
they went there many evenings with their small team
played chess, checkers and dominoes with the regulars
just shared their lives and prayed for their new friends in their difficulties
then at home they would fervently pray for those new people they had met
their early meetings were almost entirely singing and prayer
someone asked, "when new people keep coming will they be uncomfortable if we keep praying for them?" they decided not to stop and people were convicted by the Holy Spirit
it just kept growing
i have long thought home church is the way to go, but he points out the essentials of how it should work, and does not say it HAS to be in the home, it can be anywhere
but I think it sounds like what christianity is supposed to look like and what was
at early church
but there are no real rules
just jesus, really
isnt that it all of it