Thursday, September 11, 2008

What Makes Me An Expert?

A few weeks ago I set up a little online survey to get feedback from my [Subversive Underground] subscribers. The responses have been great, so far. But there was one that really hit me harder than all the rest and I wanted to respond here since I don't have the email address or the name of the person who made the comment.

Here's the comment:
"What makes you the house church/church renewal/church reform/new wineskins guru of the day? Some of us have been trying to do this for 30 years, with little results or encouragement; Yet we aren't considered a voice worth listening to; certainly not gurus. why is that? -- a discouraged leader"

My first response is that I don't consider myself a guru or even necessarily a "voice worth listening to". My hope is to share some of what I'm learning with others and encourage people who feel the same way.

The discouragement in this person's comment is palpable. I wish I could reach out and hug this person, or bless them in some tangible way. Mostly because I know that he or she is not alone in this feeling. There are many, many people who don't experience the thrill of house church. Many friends of mine here in the OC and online have shared their stories of failed attempts to find others who want to fellowship this way. I know men who have struggled for years to plant a house church that will last longer than a few months or years without fizzling out.

Just today I sent an email to a brother in Christ who had questions about leading a house church and wondered about his own ability to make it work. Here's a little of what I shared with him:

I think the main thing to take away from the discussion is that it's not about you. It's about allowing the Holy Spirit to be in charge and taking your hands off the wheel.

Our house church is coming up on 3 years now and it is thriving and growing (almost too fast) and it has NOTHING TO DO WITH ME! Nothing. At. All.

I don't bring dynamic teaching every week (no one does). I am not the attraction here. People are coming to "be the Church" and this is a safe place for them to discover how to do that.

So, leadership is a loaded topic and I feel like it's more about just being who you are and allowing everyone else to be who God has made them to be...warts and all.

Being a good facilitator is my only contribution, and I still need more on-the-job training in that actually. Learning to listen, learning to allow questions to hang out there and dangle, learning to keep our dialog on track, and learning to listen to the Holy Spirit are the main things I do every week. It's not about being agressive or taking charge. It's actually more about being passive and letting God take charge (which is much more difficult and takes a lot more courage and strength than assuming power, believe me).

I'd encourage you to pray for God to build a church in your home that is exactly what He wants. Pray for God to do something so awesome in this church, in these people, that no man would dare take any credit for it. Then step back and watch God do exactly that. At least, that's what He did in my case.

So, if you're struggling to get your house church off the ground, or if you're feeling less than adequate for the task at hand let me tell you --You're not alone.

We're all weak and the sooner we admit that to one another the better. I'm just as screwed up as the next guy...that's why I need Jesus. That's why we all need Him.

This one goes out to all the wonderful children of God out there who long for a house church where everyone loves as Jesus commanded and has yet to taste the fullness of that.

Please don't give up. Please continue to walk out the calling that God has given you to "be the Church" where you are. Even if you do it alone, with your own family, sitting on the living room floor with a Bible open and a few out of tune, accapella hymns. Keep the faith, my friends.


1 comment:

Are Karlsen said...

"So, leadership is a loaded topic and I feel like it's more about just being who you are and allowing everyone else to be who God has made them to be...warts and all."

Thank you for that one. We are meant to serve each other, not own or dominate. In our house church some are drug addicted and some are clean, other have mental problems and some are just plain ordinary old christians. I have to set people free from false loyality to our community, if they need other qualities than what our fellowship is able to give them. That kind of freedom will give the church a needed dynamic, I think.

It´s not about us gathering as many people as possible to our dominion. It´s about letting people grow up to Him who is the head of the church.