It’s been a couple months since my husband and I attended a traditional church service. It’s been a long time coming. I know many will not understand why we left and assume that we’re mad at someone.
It’s been coming on for sometime and I must say I never envisioned us not being part of a traditional congregation. After all, we have been conditioned to think this is the way “church” is suppose to be. Overall, my experiences in the “church” has mostly been positive.
Since the talking head dream I shared in a previous post, the Holy Spirit started slowly shifting my paradigm on what the church really is. In the first three hundred years people gathered in homes, and they were all an active part of the gathering. In traditional church the “service” is controlled by the those at the top. We at the bottom, are the pew dwellers. There are few real relationships that take place. We were in a church for several years and only knew the people that sat around us by name, and we knew nothing about their personal lives. Shaking hands and greeting those around you isn’t the environment to foster friendships.
I’ve read many books about home church movements. None of them really moved me to step out and do a home fellowship. After the talking head dream I experienced a second dream.
I was in a glass building. Inside were rows and rows of shelves full of books. I thought, ‘this is a library’. Outside the library were wolves circling the building. I needed to leave and go home, but I was full of fear. I kept trying to convince myself to just leave.
Just before I woke up the Lord spoke to me. “I’m sending you out as sheep among wolves.”
As soon as I woke up God gave me the interpretation. The rows of books is the church. We have been listening to sermons and getting knowledge week after week, but most of us don’t go out among the wolves.
This last dream disturbed me and I kept praying for God to show me what He wanted me to do. I went to my pastor and asked if we could do a workshop one Saturday a month and teach people how to share the gospel and then take them out into the community to get experience doing it. Nothing ever came of it. I felt like I was dying inside. Going to church became a drudgery. I was forcing myself to go, but I didn’t know what else to do.
The final thing that pushed me out of my comfort zone was a book I read (yep, another book), “Return of the First Church”, by John Fenn. Jesus appeared to him and told him to start home churches. The book is very informative of how the early church functioned before it became a religion in 313A.D. Constantine legalized Christianity and brought the believers out of the home into the pagan temples and put priests over us. We lost our priesthood, and we became the lowly, passive, pew dweller. The author goes into great detail as to why the traditional church set-up has so many issues. The spiritual dreams I experienced and this book, caused me to realized that as living stones we come together to express Jesus through each individual uniqueness and the Holy Spirit is the leader.
We did it. There were three other people that we knew who were feeling the same thing. We started meeting and it has been so freeing. We are being the living stones. There is no requirement to meet every single week. Scriptures say, where two or three are gathered in my name….. That means every time I get together with another believer and we share Jesus, we are being the church.
It is so relational. Our very first meeting was so phenomenal. It was so freeing and fulfilling. There wasn’t any preconceived agenda. We just gathered in His name. We all participated. We all left, filled, fed, joyful, and encouraged.
Our last time we met, it grew from five to nine. It happened naturally. No one went out and promoted our meeting. There is more that is happening in our community. I may share that another time. We need to rethink church planting and disciple making. It’s not a “work” thing to build an organization. It’s natural flow of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. As we realize HIS amazing love and grace, we can’t help but share it with others.