Winds of change
I love the way our church is growing and changing. There was a day, not so long ago where I wasn't fond of change - where the thought of changing churches or pastors was fairly uncomfortable for me. The past three years have been so tumultuous from a faith, church and spirituality standpoint, that I've learned to embrace change, or at least give it a half-hearted man hug.
So, when we talked with our friends Patty and Brad about starting a second home church branch of CollectiveMKE, there was barely a hesitation. After all, in three years we had left our church of 20+ years, gone unchurched for a period, tried a church in the central city for a bit, and then drifted into CollectiveMKE. Through that three year period "in the wilderness," my faith never wavered, but my understanding of what church is - or is not - changed significantly.
The power of friendships
Add to this the fact that we have been friends with Patty and Brad for over 18 years, and the idea of a church under their roof made perfect sense. Our kids were raised together, we've shared joys and sorrows together as families, vacationed together and just done life with them as friends.
Last weekend we held our first home church Sunday gathering at their house. We weren't sure how many people from CollectiveMKE's main core would show up, but we had discussed that if it was just us two couples and our kids, we'd make it work.
It was just us two couples and our kids.
We laughed at our numbers, shrugged our shoulders and did church, albeit on a micro-scale.
And we had an amazing discussion - including some great insights and comments from our high school and college age kids. It made me think of Jesus' words in Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them."
When this week rolled around, we all figured it would be about the same - four adults and five of our kids.
Thirty people showed up. Thirty!
So we did what we did when there were eight of us.
We ate together. We shared our lives with each other. We discussed the liturgy about Pentecost together. We shared communion together.
It was amazing, because, as we all know, Together is Better.
Next week there may be eight people again, or maybe forty. But that is the cool thing about CollectiveMKE, numbers don't matter. What matters is the conversations that happen - often times six or eight simultaneously. It's the connection and the caring, the concern, the love and laughter. We all recognize that we're searching here. Searching to better understand things like the life of Jesus, and the mysteries of the Bible and the Holy Spirit and how all of these things apply to our lives in 2016. In the process we are discovering the pastor that is resident in each of us - whether we realize it or not - as we minister to each other. It's give and take, listen and learn.
None of us is sure where this branch, or spoke in the wheel of CollectiveMKE will lead. But we're all pretty sure that whatever the numbers are next week and the week after, it will be amazing again.