++ Lord, Thanks for the Church ++

Lord, thanks for the Church

I’ve been wanting to write about the gathering that has been happening in our home each week since autumn, but I just haven’t. Well, tonight’s gathering was just fantastic; so I’m breaking the silence. No details. Suffice to say I was encouraged by the conversation, the meal, the enthusiasm, the laughter, and the presence of brothers and sisters. So, I say again:

++ Lord, thanks for the Church ++

Giving Away the Kids

The Dayton Foodbank90 pounds. That’s about what our kids weigh all together. My back thinks this is an understatement, but the pediatrician’s notes confirm 90 pounds.

This also happens to be the total weight of food Samantha and I dropped off at the Dayton Foodbank. One of the things I wanted to do with our house church is grow into our neighborhood offering opportunities for my neighbors to do Kingdom-bringing work, whether they realize it or not. So, the idea was simple. Print up some fliers and go door-to-door distributing them. The fliers provide some information on hunger and the Foodbank, and they offer an invitation to make a difference: “Next week leave your groceries on your porch, and we’ll be by to pick up the bags.” Then, pick up the groceries, and deliver them to the Foodbank.

We kept to our block, since this was the first time. Out of 36 houses, four participated. My expectations were one – us – so I’m pleased. I’m already planning on repeating the event next Christmas, or perhaps over the summer, “Christmas in July.” As a bonus, I met several of my neighbors face-to-face. I even learned that one is currently out of work. ( ++ Lord, hear our prayer. ++ ) Good seeds are being planted.

During each step, I brought Samantha with me. She went knocking on doors with me; she collected food with me; and she went with me this morning to deliver the food. In addition, she gets an allowance, and the first dollar earned each payday goes in her “Giving” envelope. She decided to give her $9 to the Foodbank. I want her to know this Kingdom-bringing lifestyle from the beginning.

Pardon me while I say, “Yay, us!”

15 Thesis from Wolfgang Simson

Noting here for further contemplation: 15 Thesis by Wolfgang Simson (1998)

God is changing the Church, and that, in turn, will change the world. Millions of Christians around the world are aware of an imminent reformation of global proportions. They say, in effect: “Church as we know it is preventing Church as God wants it.” A growing number of them are surprisingly hearing God say the very same things. There is a collective new awareness of age-old revelations, a corporate spiritual echo. In the following “15 Theses” I will summarize a part of this, and I am convinced that it reflects a part of what the Spirit of God is saying to the Church today. For some, it might be the proverbial fist-sized cloud on Elijah’s sky. Others already feel the pouring rain.

  1. Church is a Way of Life, not a series of religious meetings
  2. Time to change the system
  3. The Third Reformation
  4. From Church-Houses to house-churches
  5. The church has to become small in order to grow big
  6. No church is led by a Pastor alone
  7. The right pieces – fitted together in the wrong way
  8. God does not leave the Church in the hands of bureaucratic clergy
  9. Return from organized to organic forms of Christianity
  10. From worshipping our worship to worshipping God
  11. Stop bringing people to church, and start bringing the church to the people
  12. Rediscovering the “Lord’s Supper” to be a real supper with real food
  13. From Denominations to city-wide celebrations
  14. Developing a persecution-proof spirit
  15. The Church comes home

As Christians of all walks of life, from all denominations and backgrounds, feel a clear echo in their spirit to what God’s Spirit is saying to the Church, and start to hear globally in order to act locally, they begin to function again as one body. They organize themselves into neighborhood house-churches and meet in regional or city-celebrations. You are invited to become part of this movement and make your own contribution. Maybe your home, too, will become a house that changes the world.

What The House Church Movement Is Really All About

Good stuff from Leighton on what the house church movement is really all about. He puts the case well: It’s not really about houses. It’s about meeting in a relational context that enables, equips and empowers individuals to exercise gifts of the Spirit for the encouragement and edification of those present. The concert and motivational speaking (Can you tell I come from an evangelical background? Regardless, this can be extended to include the ritual and ceremony familiar to other Christian tribes.) that occurs on Sunday mornings may well have a role to play, but to call that church is in my opinion inaccurate.

Walnut Hills Home Group Launching

OK, after talking and talking and thinking and thinking and talking and talking… it’s happening.

Thursdays, beginning August 31st September 7th.

Our House; Walnut Hills Neighborhood of Dayton

Here’s a brief description of what we’ll be doing:

Walnut Hills is a Dayton neighborhood just south of US-35 and east of the University of Dayton. The cleverly named Walnut Hills Home Group meets in that neighborhood.

The group is open to anyone and everyone: families and singles, young and old, ├╝ber-geek and terminally hip. Children participate in the life of the group right along side the adults, for all who follow Christ, regardless of age, have been given Spiritual gifts to build up the body.

We gather around three central words: Table, Incarnation, and Grace. By Table, we mean that we gather around a dinner table, where we break bread; pray; speak the Gospel into one another’s lives; and remember our Savior through Communion. By Incarnation, I mean we work to embody the Spirit of our Savior, who “became flesh” and “moved into the neighborhood,” by growing into our neighborhoods and carrying Kingdom Life to those among us in need of its Redeeming and Transforming Power. Finally, by Grace, I mean that our primary means of Evangelism is the pouring out of our selves in service to God and neighbor.

We extend an open invitation to join us

If you are local to me, count yourself invited. Contact me with questions.

If you’re not, stop by if you’re ever in town… and feel free to offer feedback.