Monday, May 30, 2011
The Pitfalls of Organic Church (Part 5)
Practice Brutal Honesty and Shocking Truth. (No masks allowed)
One of the things I’ve loved the most about house church is that the home setting allows people to be themselves and communicate with one another without fear. At least, as long as you create an environment where people feel safe, that is. When people know that they can share doubts, fears, failures, and inconsistencies without being jumped on, attacked, treated differently, judged or pitied, they will eventually start to tell you the painful truth about themselves. This is where organic church really starts to get interesting.
Frankly, I have not been the first person to lead this trend in our house church family, but thankfully we’ve been blessed with a few people who just will not sit still for bullsh*t – and I love them for this.
One gentleman is constantly telling us how he doubts his faith or how he’s not sure he really loves Jesus the way he should. This sort of thing makes most of us uncomfortable, and we will often spend some time trying to “fix” this person, but really this isn’t why the person is sharing the truth with us. It’s simply because he needs to speak the truth and he needs to know that there are people who are willing to hear it from him and still love him just the same.
I can remember leading a home group in our previous traditional church setting. Everyone in that group admitted that we didn’t want to wear any masks. But in practice we all kept ours on and waiting for the person next to us to go first. Sadly, none of us really ever did. It wasn’t until we got to the house church level that people felt comfortable admitting their sin, their weakness, their inadequacy, their fears, their doubts, their lack of faith, and their pain.
Several of my friends have come through the Twelve Step program at Alcoholics Anonymous, and from the conversations we’ve had about these kinds of meetings I can see that they’ve been practicing this kind of honesty for long, long time. I think I’d love to go with some of my friends when they go to their next meetings just so I can see for myself what a totally honest and open meeting is really like. This is how all of us should come together as a Body each week; we should show up admitting that we are weak and that we need help; we should confess to one another often just how screwed up and helpless we are to overcome our sins on our own; we should listen to one another without offering unsolicited advice and try to find ourselves in the other person’s story without thinking of ourselves as being better or superior to them in any way.
If your group is still in the habit of pretending to have it all together, I must humbly suggest that you need to be the one to go first and take off your mask. Or, talk with your house church family about why your group doesn’t feel safe enough to share what’s really going on in your lives with one another. Ask some hard questions. Maybe even make a game out of it at first and go around the room sharing with one another your biggest doubts about your faith, or the most difficult thing about your walk with Christ. The goal isn’t to bring everyone down, but to take off the mask and get real enough with one another to start building one another up in the faith. We cannot do this if we never admit that we need building up. We cannot heal if we never show each other the wounds. We cannot comfort one another in our suffering is we never let anyone see us weep.