This past weekend my wife Allison and I announced to our church that December 15th (the day the battle of ticameron was won and the day that Nero died) would be our last day at Light House Church, our church home of three and a half years that we have been with since it began and that we are both actively involved in. I myself am the worship and the youth guy and Allison is the Children’s ministry person. This decision was an extremely painful decision but also a necessary one.
Over a year ago I came home from bible college worried. I was worried because during my time in bible college i started to question why we “do church” the way we do. I did a lot of research into the origins of the christian church and into church history. I looked at the first three hundred years of the church and saw something completely different than what we have now. I went to many churches and saw to much focus on a few hours and not nearly enough focus on community and service. I saw people preaching “the gospel” but not acting on it. I saw people claiming to do things different, but only saw a change in rhetoric. Due to all of these things I became incredibly bitter to the church. I stopped attending church at school and became very worried because I was very involved in a organized church back at home when I left. I didn’t know what I would do, because even walking into a “church building” made me sick. Thankfully, God squelched the bitterness in my heart and I realized that even though they might be way different from the way things used to be that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong, and that even more importantly they are my family and I love them regardless of their silly practices. I came home and became very involved at Light House Church in both the worship team and the youth group. I poured my heart, soul, passion, money, and time into the youth group. There was still however, something about Sunday service that didn’t sit right with me. I told Allison of my ideas of what Church means and what community gatherings should look like and at the time, she told me I was crazy. I asked “what ifs” involving leaving LHC and moving and Africa. At the time I was met with a fairly sure ideal that we were to stay there a long long time. I held my tongue and hoped that someday things would change. Allison spoke of licensing with the Assemblies of God and becoming a actual pastor with them.
Over the course of a year, many things have changed. Allison has realized that she disagrees with a lot of what the Assemblies believe and that she could not be licensed through them. This worried her because she was fairly sure that our pastor would want her to get licensed. Now, at this same time some changes were going on at LHC. I started to notice a focus on aesthetics that I had never seen before. We had met in sticky movie theaters and big warehouses in the past so aesthetic was a luxury that we did not have. But, after building a “sanctuary” we now had pretty things and like any typical western thinker, we needed to keep those things pretty. Slowly but surely I started to see more of the typical American church come into LHC and those feelings I had kept dormant for over a year started to come back. Little did I know that those feelings would be the springboard for something bigger than I could ever imagine. I felt torn, for I wanted to support my pastor in his decisions, yet there was that part of me that wanted to go back into bitter, sarcastic, mode. The rebel in me was brooding and it didn’t help that others around me were more open with their opinion. It got to the point that I felt like I was trying to bridge the gap between the complainers and the yes-men. We had my Mother, whom I love very very much, on one side getting mad at the way things were and Gracey, my fellow youth leader and friend, on the other side getting mad at those who were mad and no-one was listening to each other. I became incredibly frustrated because I was trying to propagate a more civilized approach to peoples frustrations, but because of my previous bitterness and others current anger, no one wanted to listen. You were either in or you were out. You either trusted the pastor, or you didn’t. I didn’t know what to do, or how to deal with this. I felt a meeting with my pastor was needed, but was so afraid, because of past discussions, of how he would respond. Then I went to Urbana.
Allison and I, as previously mentioned were invited to a pastors conference in Urbana. At the last minute one of the people we were to drive down there dropped out and we had an extra spot. So, Cassie (one of my closest friends) decided to come with. We spent several hours in a car discussing our worries and frustrations, our fears and our ideas. We started to realize that we all had this idea lurking within us. This realization did not become fully recognized however, until the end of the first night when we spent several hours discussing church and community over wheat beer and onion rings. We then spent another several hour trip talking all about ideas and dreams of church. Ideas about community and service. Ideas about dinner with your christian family and loving all regardless of past. Ideas about discussion based learning and getting back to the way the early church was. We talked of a mature way to bring up to our pastor our worries and frustrations. We also talked of what we would do if he didn’t take it well. It was here that I at least believe that Mosaic was “born” per-say. We thought through situations and found that there was a good chance that in bringing up these ideas he would ask us to leave. It was here that we started to think up what on earth we would do if we were asked to leave our home. We started to reflect back on conversations on organic church and real community and service. The pieces started coming together. It went from a last resort idea to the vision of God for our lives very quickly. We realized that we were all thinking similar things all at the same time. As time passed it turned out that our meeting with pastor Neil turned from a call to change and a prophetic call back to vision to an announcement of future vision and direction from God. The night of the meeting came, and God showed up. We stated our problems and hurts and worries, as did our pastor. We both apologized for things we did that hurt. Wounds that could have brought division were healed as we moved on to our crazy ideas. Something unbelievable happened. He was ready for them. He even had a Bible verse ready for us. We talked about our desire to stay closely connected to LHC even though we would be a separate body and our crazy house church ideas. He, through his sadness to see us leave, became very excited to hear that we did not want to break ties with LHC and hoped to stay connected in many ways. So, we prayed and this past weekend announced that on December 15th we would be going on our journey to start Mosaic. I hope to write more about Mosaic as we come up with more. I will definitely post more at a later time, but I wrote this whole thing in one sitting and am becoming tired of typing. Pray for us and if you live in the anywhere near us and want to be involved, let me know. People are essential to community.