Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shaping of the Church (The New Edition )

When we decided to move to Israel many people wondered what was wrong with us. Why leave a perfectly stable life and plunge into the great unknown. The truth is that when I first proposed the idea to my wife I thought she would say that I was crazy and not to even think about it but she actually said that this sounded good. (Not because she actually thought the lack of stability and that unknown is good, just that she thought it would be a worth while experience.) As we have been working out details for our return to America, it was our desire to find a place to live and work where we could be excited about the vision and where we would feel that we were being faithful with our own giftedness.
To make the story short, in the end we decided to do something that would only extend our season of "unknown" and instability. No, we are not going to sell our house and invest everything in "silent velcro". We have decided to do something we never thought we would do and something that will require even more faith than moving the family to the Middle East. We have decided to join with a group of people in beginning a new church in Southern California.
I have spent many years of my life cynical of "church plants" because so many of them appeared to be people simply wanting to duplicate what was already being done. In some cases that criticism was correct, in others I am sure that I was very wrong. Now, I get to be one of those who will stand under scrutiny and criticism for planting a church.
What has fueled this whole process is my own personal struggle with consumer Christianity and my own belief that the Bride of Christ (the Church) should be a place where everyone can find love and grace. It is motivated by my conviction that Christians need to live in mission to everyone all the time and not to see mission as "bringing your friends to church". These, along with countless other similar convictions ultimately led us to this decision.
I would be lying to you if I said that we had no reservations or fears as it relates to this decision but I would be lying to myself if I did not recognize the fact that I am a dreamer who believes that things can be better. When I say things can be better I am referring to people like me who have lost touch with Church as we know it. I believe there are many great churches doing good things but they tend to connect with certain types of people and a growing numbers of others are longing for something different. So because my family is filled with adrenaline junkies (especially my wife), this next year will be filled with many of the same unknowns and adventures as this year... we will just have Cipotle Burritos and Target Stores to ease the occasional pains.

10 comments:

Scott said...

Godspeed my friend!

Kevin said...

When are you planning on making it back to the US?

patricia said...

we'll feed you. =)

Anonymous said...

http://www.edyoungblog.com/2008/05/church-pirates.html

Anonymous said...

I think it is sad that people like Ed young and (anonymous)think Church is about numbers and there ministry, and not about God and His Ministry.The Church is the body of Christ not the building you meet in.Greg

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

Scott- Thank you. I look forward to continuing our journey together in our own ministries.

Kevin- At the end of the month!

Patricia- Thanks. Only kosher please.

Anonymous- Thanks for the link. It definitely spurs conversation.

Greg- We are only responsible for how we behave before the Lord. Criticism will come from all angles and we can learn from it and at times we will change. But we need not fight back. We have better things to do.

Kevin said...

Let me know when you are looking for a youth pastor! ;)

patricia said...

Rrrr matey!

Grace Church Youth said...

I wondered how long it would take for you to say that. You have all my support.
-Andrew