People ask me why we choose to do church differently. Are we a protest movement? Do we feel like everyone else is wrong and we’re right? The answer to both questions is, “no.” We’re not mad at anybody. It’s OK to do church in a building and pay a staff. That costs a lot of money and it’s not what I’ve chosen, but I am not going to criticize those that have chosen differently. Ain’t nobody got time for that! There is plenty that needs to be done in a world as broken as this one, so to waste time hacking away at people who are more “traditional” doesn’t make sense to me, particularly when such expressions of church life have accomplished some pretty amazing things for the Kingdom. As a matter of fact, Jody and I work closely with the special people of a “more normal” congregation. We’re honored they’ll have us!
No, the reason we do church “organically” as some call it, is because there are more and more people who are drawn to a simpler, relational faith with all its challenges. In a complicated and expensive world, it is nice to be able to meet together just as friends with a common purpose and motivation. No programs to staff and run. No budgets to meet, buildings to maintain and payroll to worry about. Simply people following Jesus. Simple as that. What could be better?
The goal is also simple: be like our first brothers and sisters in the church. To quote Ian Thomas,
They were incorrigibly happy, utterly unafraid and nearly always in trouble. They knew what they believed; they believed what they knew. They acted on the assumption that it was true and let God prove it.
It isn’t always easy. Putting yourself in a small group where hiding isn’t an option can be intimidating, but that’s what Jesus called us to. Sometimes I think that after 23 years we’d be better at it, but that is not really the point. The point is that we’ve been called to love one another and let God cause the growth.
Lately, we’ve revived a practice that we did quite awhile ago, namely bringing the community of churches, called The Summit Fellowships, together for a celebration. We call the latest incarnation of this gathering The Vine. It’s open to anybody that’s curious about doing church simply. Maybe you’ve been “out of the church” for a time. Whatever the reason for that, you’d be welcome to come and meet some folks that are on a different faith journey. We eat together. Play with the kids. Do some music. Consult the church handbook (the Bible, y’know) and hang out with friends. If you’re curious, we would love to meet you. Do let us know you’re coming, though, so we make sure to have enough food. Visit the Facebook event page for The Vine, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Other simple churches are welcome, too.)