Rather, I'm asking these two questions (see the post title) in response to Felicity Dale's recent short piece entitled The journey from legacy church to simple/organic/house church. I encourage you to read it before continuing here.
Felicity discusses some of the struggles involved in the journey from legacy church to simple church. In particular, her focus is the difficulty of giving up certain things that we may have enjoyed in institutional church life. Felicity concludes by discussing some of the wonderful benefits of organic church.
My questions today are aimed at myself and you. Where am I and where are you in this journey? I realize you may not be on this journey at all, and that is fine. However, if you are, then where are you? I'd love to hear from you; please leave a comment describing your situation.
As for our family, we can well understand what Felicity is talking about. My wife Alice and I have been part of several churches through the years that have had dynamic music and solid preaching. I freely admit that on occasion I miss vibrant, practiced singing in large groups. I even, if I'm allowed to say so, even like a choir piece once in a while. As for preaching, there is no doubt that God has gifted some men in both teaching and oratory skills. When these are combined in a godly man, he often can deliver a very good sermon. I've heard many through the years and still enjoy them.
The singing and sermons, however, are not nearly enough to entice me to return to the institutional church. There are two reasons for this. First, we are convicted to follow the biblical model for church life. Second, the sense of community, group participation, and freedom in simple church is wonderful. This environment lends itself to deep relationships.
I'm not really sure what the "mountain top" of simple church life looks like. Felicity refers to this and may be there herself. I hope to be one day. However, we certainly aren't walking through any sort of "Death Valley" either. I'd say, to continue the metaphor, that we are about half way up the simple church mountain between the valley and the top. We continue to progress upward with our friends and with Christ in the lead. It is a beautiful thing.
I thank the Father, Son, and Spirit for the wonderful gift of what He desires His church to be. It is difficult at times, but is glorious to behold.
That's where I am. Where are you?