We are planting a church, it’s happening. I’m working towards the end date at my current job and not long after that we are going to launch. It seems a little crazy right? There’s a worldwide pandemic going on, things are really tough for a lot of people and on top of that churches can’t really meet at the moment - at least not physically in large groups. There’s part of me that is terrified by that but there’s another - hopefully bigger, bolder and braver part of that, that is incredibly excited. Starting something now means trying something new and I've always been someone who has been intrigued by what the church could look like in the future.
We would love for people to come along on this adventure with us. This is also kind of weird because a lot of people we know already go to church somewhere and we’re not doing this to steal people from their church. We’re doing this because there are so many people who aren’t going to church, people who have questions about faith and spiritual things and don’t have anywhere to go to ask them, people who have been hurt by unhealthy religion and have wondered if they could ever be a part of a church community again, people who are looking for a spiritual home and faith community they can be a part of and contribute to.
So if there is a part of The Church Project that resonates with you, we’d love to talk to you and maybe even welcome you into our new church community. But how do you know what resonates with you if we’re not talking about what is resonating with us? That’s the purpose of this new blog. Each week in the lead up to The Church Project launch we are going to share 3 things we’re thinking about when it comes to The Church Project (which is the current name of our church plant… sounds experimental doesn’t it?). So here’s 3 things I’ve been thinking about this week...
I wonder if, like me, you feel that public discourse has gone severely downhill. Everything seems so polarised today. Are you liberal or conservative? Anti or pro? In or out? Up or down? We just don’t disagree with each other well, which is a problem because there’s always something to disagree about. In our current social environment it’s so easy to dehumanise someone because you disagree on something that’s important to you, and sometimes the church and Christians get caught up in this kind of discourse. I’m really passionate about being part of a church that disagrees well with each other – having a community where you can have healthy conversation over things you might not agree on, but can be respectful and try and understand different perspectives. I want to be able to hear someone’s story and the why behind what they think and believe. I hope that The Church Project is a church that models positive ways to disagree with each other and ultimately is able to extend love in the midst of those disagreements.
Like I said earlier, it seems a little crazy trying to plant a church in the middle of a worldwide pandemic - but I'm excited about what that means for the way we approach this church plant. It means we can’t launch in the traditional way by trying to gather a large group of people together. So we need to go small, meeting in small groups, maybe even in families and online for a while. I’m looking at the potential, rather than limitations, and hopefully we get to know each other really well. Smaller groups are great for getting to know each other better and having real, open and honest conversations. It also means we don’t have to be reliant on people being available for a few hours on Sunday to meet together. There’s a whole week to meet and with the use of technology we can try and all be on the same page even if we meet in different places in smaller groups on different days. The Corona virus also presents us with the challenge of how we can love our neighbours well and try to be a positive force in our community, finding ways to help people in need whether that need is physical, emotional or spiritual.
I’ve been a pastor for 15 years now and I’m really excited to have the chance to rethink what it means for me, and our new church, to follow Jesus. This step of faith provides us with an opportunity to ask “what does it mean for me to follow Jesus right now in this new context I'm in?” I’ve got a new revelation of how worthwhile following Jesus is, and I’m looking forward to bringing this as we launch into a new church adventure. I love the idea that we get to share that journey with people - even if we don’t know who those people are yet. It’s not always an easy road but it’s a road that leads to life.
So there's my 3 thoughts for this week. If there’s something there you want to talk about - we’d love for you to reach out to us and hopefully you’ll stay tuned.