From conversation to movement

From conversation to movement

Some people in the emerging church say it is a conversation not a movement. I might be impatient but I’m tired of conversation and I want to move. In the last 6 months I’ve been drawn more and more in to the house church movement (they don’t call themselves a conversation). I’ve been reading Rad Zdero, Neil Cole and Wolfgang Simson. I’ve been listening to some conference MP3’s over and over again from a gig Simson did in Spokane. I almost hate to say it but I’m convinced. I think that my search for the general direction of the church in my context is over. I think simple church is the way to go. It is refreshing to enter in to a movement that takes scripture seriously.

When it works it works well. It is very much in harmony with the New Testament. It is easy to do. I think what keeps people from jumping on is that it requires more faith and integrity than traditional church leadership. So many church leaders today are enslaved to the safety and security of a salary.

When I started getting involved in house churches 3 years ago I was just experimenting. I went in expecting that things would fail. Things did fail and I saw with my own eyes bad things I could not believe were happening. In the midst of all that I discovered that even our meager attempts at church worked just as well as any other church I’d been a part of. In our time together we even had a church shopper rate us. In the end it wasn’t what I think church can be but I realized church doesn’t have to be nearly as complicated as we make it out to be.

This week I talked to one of the denominational leaders about starting a house church network and hooking it up with the denomination. As we talked I wondered if I came across like some 22 year old idealistic bible school grad. Maybe a 32 year old idealist is not that different from a 22 year old. I may have a greater sense that struggle or even failure is probably par for the course. I’m not sure I really care if I fail a dozen times though. Church is so messed up from the gospel we proclaim to our anemic growth to our biblical illiteracy or our fruitless lives. I’d rather swing for the fence and strike out hard than go in to some nice stable environment content with marginal incremental change.

  1. #1 by Marco Funk on August 2, 2006 - 12:15 am

    I appreciate your comments. I’ve been a full-time youth pastor in a small Menno church in a rural community in Canada and I have some of my own frustrations with Church life.

    I long for greater vulnerability and raw authenticity in our church communities. A real sharing of the body of Christ rather than our affluent nibbles of the wafer.

  2. #2 by Jeremy Kliever on August 2, 2006 - 9:08 am

    I think that you’re on the right path, LT. It’s going to be a tough haul with a house church network interfacing with the denomination. But I’m convinced that house churches can help out the old school institutions and I’m equally sure that the old school institutions have something valuable to offer as well.

    I’m also glad to hear that you’re not settling for a compromised church or resigned to failure. It’s time to step up and do church the way it’s supposed to be done!

  3. #3 by carmen andres on August 3, 2006 - 7:15 am

    My heart flipped when I read this post. I identify with a lot of what you are saying, particularly the wanting to move, how messed up the church is, and the attraction of Simson’s ideas. In fact, Simson’s “Houses” was my proverbial “red pill” into the whole emerging thing to begin with. It was where I started. I’m excited to hear about your conversation with denominational leaders, and I hope you’ll keep us posted. I’ll keep checking back. Blessings.

  4. #4 by len on August 5, 2006 - 11:24 am

    Go for it Leighton! God has given us everything we need for life and godliness, and He has made you an adequate servant of His covenant… The Holy Spirit will empower, teach, lead and guide you ..

  5. #5 by Thea Miklasiewicz on August 9, 2006 - 9:29 am

    I certainly commend you on striking out on your own. I think houses that take money from churches and then openly critize them is no less then stealing from hard earned resources. Most of the elderly haven’t even heard of the emergent church and yet their money is supporting it. Can this be considered “elder abuse”

    Set up your house. Use your own resources. Stay away from the resources that you openly put down. The traditional churches provide security, guidance, and believe it or not, a place for God loving Christians to worship. Many open their doors during the week and feed the community. The congregation sit with community members and have conversations with them. Sanctuaries are open to prayer, compation teams help the sick and infirmed, teenagers and adults together walk the urban streets with food, socks, blanket, coats, and a message of Jesus’ love.

    This is where the traditional church’s money is best spent. In programs they know and trust.

  6. #6 by LT on August 10, 2006 - 12:58 am


    I don’t know whether you are offended by what I wrote or what your angle is. If you want to talk about whether my criticism is valid we can do that.

    I can provide a solid biblical defence for my comments.

  7. #7 by Frank on August 12, 2006 - 9:50 am

    Lo and behold I got into this. This morning I got into your comments section and I read the comments. Since then I have tried to go to other ones but could not get in. This is what happens: when I click on “comments” a double clunking sound happens and it stays at the original page. It happens at least 7 0r 8 times. I tried it again just a few minutes ago and it let me in.

    Anyway, Nice to hear about your decision. Lynn and I are at this time praying about what to do. We have been part of 4 house churches that did not work out well for various reasons. Mostly because we had to travel almost an hour to make it work. As a result everthing had to happen in those groups in the space of 2 or three hours. So we chatted about what that means for us here in Manitoba.

    Leighton, is there anything I can pray for you over the next week. I’ve learned not to promise more than that because i tend to tail off in praying more regularly….

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