My Evolution

I had a great conversation with one of my church members today. He stopped by the office and we spent the next 30 min or so just chatting about life and where we fit to God's plan. We somehow got on the topic of our church and the way we (as in our church) continue to evolve. I guess evolve is a good word to use, maybe refine or sculpted are just as good. Anyway, during the conversation, I reflected back on just how much our church has changed since we first opened our doors way back in September '03. And maybe most importantly, how much I had changed. Back then our group consisted of group of friends with the hopes and dreams of doing church different. Doing it "right". After almost 3 years, I think we're finally on our way of getting there.

Our church today is nothing like I thought it would have been 3 years ago. When we started we had visions of huge worship service that resembled something from a Louie Gigglio Passion Conference. We would start a church, then develop community. I realize now that we had it totally backward. What it's become (finally) is a beautiful community of folks from all different ages and walks of life simply seeking God through deep heartfelt relationships and community here on earth, that gather to worship together each week.

I would think every once in a while that something had to be wrong here. That I had failed as a pastor when people showed up more for the community and the life sharing circumstances that surround us then for the stand up sit down structured western world church we have all grew up in. Didn't they know that what happened during the allotted time on Sunday mornings should be the most important time of their week? Our church was broke and I had no idea how to fix it.
The truth was, I'm the one who broke it and now God is fixing it. God gave me a church, and instead of following His instructions, I tossed them aside and attempted to put together this church on my own, like it was some kind of bookshelf from Walmart. After making a mess of our church, I finally gave it all back to God and asked if He could fix what I had broken.

He started by reminding me that our church was His church first. That The Refinery would ultimately be the church He wanted, not what I may want. But...if I was obedient and allowed Him to refine me as He begin to refine our church, then what I wanted our church to be would be exactly what He intended our church to be and vice-versa. So the evolution began.

It's been eleven months since I "gave" God back His church, and what He has done with it I would have never of imagined. He took this cookie cutter modeled structured church and created an amazing organic community within it. The preaching, teaching and music are all great, but it's the stuff that goes on before and after the service that are making the biggest impact in the lives of the folks at our church.

My friend I had this conversation with today said something very profound. He said he works in corporate America all week long. The last thing he wants is to go to a church that runs itself and worships like a corporation.

This may seem like nothing but please stick with me on this. One sign that our church is becoming an organic church community just like the first ones in the book of Acts is the fact that we have so many home school families at our church. I know, you're like what does that have to do with anything, but please hang in there and I'll try to explain. One of the major componets of families that home school is community. Sure there is some part of them that doesn't trust the public school system anymore, but for the most part, the parents involved love being around their kids. They want that sense of family and community within their household. Not that public school parents don't care about families, but home school families seem to have taken it to a new level. That's really cool to see. So the fact that so many home school families are attending our church makes me think that they believe they've found a church that values the same community that they do.

I know I probably doesn't make any sense at all, but again, this is my evolving mind trying to work this out on my computer.

Acts 2: 42-47 says:
They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers. Everyone around was in awe├é—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met. They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.

That is what the "organic church" looks like. That is what God is evolving our church into. The more I get out of the way and allow God to work, the more God continues to bring peopletogetherr. It's not the church I would have designed 3 years ago, but it's the one I never want to leave today. Thank God for evolution.


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