When I arrived at the meeting I was already nervous.
We had some big decisions to make that night and my own baggage with the infamous ritual of 'church business meetings' had left me with church meeting PTSD. Lest you accuse me of being overly dramatic, at previous meetings at other churches 'good Christian people' have yelled at me, threatened me, shoved me, and tried to fight me. I've also been scolded, shamed, accused, lied about, slandered, called evil, bullied, and humiliated. I have good reason to be a little nervous when it's time to discuss the future.
This particular 'town-hall forum' (see, doesn't that sound less menacing…) was a big one. For almost a year, our church had been hosting worship gatherings just once a month while meeting weekly in houses. While we all loved doing ‘House Church’, I think most of us assumed one day we would grow up and have a weekly worship gathering just like every other legit church. At a previous Town-hall, we decided to experiment during December with hosting a weekly worship gathering for Advent. The December worship gatherings were everything I had imagined them being since we started the church. We connected with new people, we ate lots of food together, and it all would have been great, except for one thing.
Two weeks into our experiment, I started to have serious doubts along two lines. First, I wondered how many people in 2016 would consistently choose to participate in both a weekly house church community and a weekly worship gathering. If this was true, it meant that doing a weekly worship gathering, would siphon energy away from the house church community we had all grown to love and enjoy so deeply. Even though we had been meeting together for less than a year, the prospect of no longer having our house church was already causing me grief. House Church really has been THAT good. Ask anyone who is involved.
My second doubt was more subtle. While we were meeting in a beautiful facility, there was something about gathering in a traditional church environment (we were borrowing a sanctuary from another awesome church in Waukesha) that felt a little less like us. Our discussion based sermons, a hallmark of our Community, were still there, but the rows of pews made them have a little less energy. Our potlucks were still amazing, but at least for me, they didn’t quite hit the same depth of coffee and brunch at Claude & Amy’s house.
So, by the time I arrived at the meeting I was already nervous. I was afraid that everyone else would want to continue weekly worship gatherings, even though I was now convinced that House Church was the greater opportunity in front of us. And then something beautiful happened. Everyone else felt the same way. House church had made us all love being part of a church again, it had made us look forward to Sundays again. Our church had very little in the way of programs, but we were rich in connection and relationships and a huge part of that came from sitting in a living room on Sunday morning and being human together. Our church wasn’t about the building or the programs, it was about drinking coffee together as our kids ran through the room. It was about talking through the lectionary readings and hearing from everyone. It was about taking communion with homemade bread.
As we looked around the room and shared our hearts, we all realized how special what we had created together truly was. We also felt that this sort of connection and community was something we wanted to share with others.
So we made some decisions:
- Make house churches our weekly expression of community.
- Seek out opportunities to create more house church communities in greater MKE.
- Have worship Gatherings once a month.
We are going to be a church that focuses on turning living rooms into places of connection and communion and helps bring people together into communities where they can be connected and loved. We could not be more excited for what the future holds. In a future email time we will update you on how our Serving Initiatives and ‘Jesus + Beer’ events complete the picture of who we are as a church.
*This post was part of our most recent email update. If you want to read the rest, it is available here: