I’d like to say a word of encouragement to those who are wanting to gather with others who are simply wanting to be the church that follows Jesus, but your thinking “I don’t know anyone doing that around here.” A dozen years ago we were in the same boat. We were going around to various venues – traditional church businesses, maybe a conference here and there, or home school groups, or BSF, or this or that – meeting people who, like us, were “on the journey” of leaving the church business, not knowing what to do, but wanting to just be the church that follows Jesus. And someone called a gathering, inviting everyone over to the house. And we talked about the journey. There’s so much to talk about, and swapping stories is invigorating. And then we prayed for each other, and went home. Simple. We liked it, and we sensed God pulling us in to him. Some time later we called another one, and by then there were a few different faces. We brought potluck, we talked, we prayed. One thing led to another and we said, “hey, how about we do this once a month?” So we did, and it was wonderful. Somehow we sensed that God was trying to reach us, drawing us in, and we wanted to respond to him. Much later, someone could play piano/guitar, so we shared a worship song together. Then someone said, “I’d really like to see you all more often, how about twice a month?” So we did. Next thing you know, a few years went by, and someone knew of some nice cabins by a river that could hold us, and there was a pool for the kids. So we went for three days, and it was wonderful. We’ve done that four years in a row now. Over the years we keep turning corners together, just letting one thing lead to another, and working out together what we sense the Lord doing among us. The Lord is teaching us so much about the priority of relationships with him and each other. Love and safety is growing among us. Next thing you know, God is using it as if to say, “okay, now that my presence is among you, you’re ready to face some things and ‘grow up’ together”. And we are. Somewhere along the way we realized lots of other people were doing this around the country/world, and they were calling it “simple church” or other names.
So my thought is, let’s just gather, 2 or 3, and touch the Lord together – figuring out whatever that looks like for you. Who cares how big/small it is; who cares if it seems as “established” as the church businesses we’ve all been a part of – that’s business-speak in our heads, not the simple, true, Kingdom of God speak. Somebody, someday, somehow has to simply start with inviting people over to talk, or whatever. One of our early memories is “show and tell” nights – it’s where you bring some object you have that’s got a story about you behind it, that helps people see a little bit about yourself that may not be obvious.
Not sure if others have this happen to them, but I find that all the years in church business can make you think things have to be so well thought out and organized and proper before it feels okay to just gather and be the church that follows Jesus. More business-speak in our heads, not the Spirit of God.