27 October, 2005

Andrew Jones on the Home Church Movement

Some of us at The Journey were blessed by a visit of Andrew & Debbie Jones a while back as they made their way to the States (you can check in with them at Andrew's blog at TallSkinnyKiwi.com). Well, I just finished reading an article of his from about 3 years ago at TheOoze.com entitled "My Gripes About The House Church Movement". Here is a quote to wet your palate:

"I visited a House Church in the early 90's. It was run by skunks. A group of
disgruntleds whose happiness came from the fact they met on Thursday and not
Sunday. In a living room and not a sanctuary. On a sofa and not a pew. They
were like kids staying away from school, hiding out, proud of their
boldness to leave. And yet in all their freedom they managed only to move
the church service from a building to a house. Not much else had changed.
Only the location. They had the smirks of naughty boys on their faces. They
were a church service on the run. An escaped meeting captured by a living
room. One that built its identity from rebellion, defined themselves by what
they were not. This was the Revenge of the Skunks.
I didn't go back to that church. "

I don't think that's us - or at least I hope it's not - but if it's not, who are we actually? Jones, goes on to say a lot of great things a little more relevant to what God is now doing in The Journey. As we prepare ourselves for the next up and coming "Journey Day" (i.e. days when we consider what it is The Journey actually is and compare that to what God would have us be) I read this article with a good deal of excitement and curiosity. Is Andrew's description of "The Butterflies" close to what God is doing in the midst of The Journey? Is this an appropriate vision for what God is doing in Blackrock through us?

Well, no matter how The Journey looks down the road, I just want to say thank you to everyone who is a part of this community. Hailey and I have been honoured recipients of your love and support. Thank you for being part of our home here in Ireland.



CPRIreland said...

Some of the critiques I've read (e.g. Carson and others) have labelled emerging/missional Christianity as a "protest" against traditional expressions of church. If that's the case..then maybe the "skunk" label is valid.

But most of the missional believers I'm interacting with are not protesting anything... They are in fact longing and thirsting for a more authentic, more engaged and engaging; and more "real-life" experience of community with others who are following Jesus.

While every new movement involves some inherent critique and evaluation of what has gone before..I think it's a mistake to see the Journey or most other missonal communities as focusing primarily on protest. We may have our stinky moments..but I don't think we're skunks at heart.

knnuki said...

The "skunks" label is understandable. There is, in christendom, a long history of people rebelling, recanting, demanding and starting up their own thing.

But there is also a long history of God's spirit moving fresh in the hearts of people, and of those people responding to Him despite the risks involved. The keepers of the "old paradigm" (whatever that is) often view this as rebellion, as a snub or even as aggression. At the journey we are none of these things: we are merely trying to do the best as God leads. And yes, there is inherent criticism of the old when something new starts, even when it starts for the very best reasons. We can do nothing about this and I suspect it's healthy that the inherent criticism is there. Let it stand, and let us be humble servants of Christ as we figure out what next!