It's been four months since I announced my plans to leave conventional church ministry to setup a network of microchurches. And it's been 2-1/2 months since I left to do it. Many people asked me to let them know when the "new thing" was starting. This is me doing that!
It feels like it’s been forever! I had planned to hit the ground running but a friend suggested I fast from working for the first month. That was good counsel. It was especially significant that I push a reset button in my own life before leading a reset button on church.
So I did my best to honor that. And as I embraced a new simplicity in my life, I was refreshed, and this vision became all the more compelling: A network of microchurches gathered around a simple agreement of “one path, four devotions, and two loves, that’s it.”
In my prayers and conversations I kept hearing the phrase "stubbornly simple."
I knew that this new thing has to be “stubbornly simple” for it to be simple at all. Most things move toward complexity, not simplicity. But the irony is that for the end result to be stubbornly simple, a lot of thought and planning has to go into the beginning of it. And some questions need to be answered at the beginning.
So I spent time reading, listening, praying, writing, having lots of conversations, and reflecting on the opportunities and challenges of this new ministry. I listened to concerns and enthusiasms, trying hard to dismiss the extremes of over-the-top optimism and don’t-even-try pessimism.
I pushed and pulled at all the ideas and advice I was hearing and I came away convinced that God is in this — even that the shaking we have all experienced was about inviting us to press a reset button on how to be church.
There’s a lot of enthusiasm about this, but it's more hope than hype.
In fact, in the larger Church right now, people are leaning into this sort of idea with intrigue and enthusiasm like we've never seen in our lifetime. In fact, so many people are moving toward this way of being church that it’s being called a movement — the microchurch movement.
Who knows what it will become? I just know I'm to be part of it, and to help others be part of it.
The crazy thing is, in a world where companies and churches and ministries grow on hype, there’s just not a lot of hype about this. There aren’t big stage shows or big personas driving this movement. Even where "celebrity pastors" and big ministries are promoting this, it's more a conversation than a sales pitch.
More hope than hype. It seems that followers of Jesus everywhere are connecting with this simple hope that church might return to simply being church. That we might restore love, joy, and peace through a simpler devotion.
The inscription on our landing page says, “For those who crave a simpler way, here’s an opportunity to press the reset button.” That’s my heart. That's my prayer.
In my prayer journal I prayed about Acts 2:42 so often that I developed my own little shorthand for it: “X242.”
It seemed good to call this vision by that name. X242.
The passage reads, "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
Imagine a world where the believers do that — where we gather in each other’s homes weekly to eat together, open scripture together, pray together, and enjoy genuine Christian fellowship together. Imagine a world where not only is that our worship, but it's our discipleship process, and our evangelism method. And it's our faith family. And imagine all the faith families getting together monthly for encouragement. It would utterly change the spiritual landscape.
But instead, we live in a world of complexities and competitions, where churched people are distracted, dechurched people are disillusioned, and unchurched people are still disbelieving.
I believe this network of microchurches will see churched people refreshed, dechurched people restored, and unchurched people redeemed! I plan to say more about it in person at our first monthly meetup.
First Monthly Meetup! (Please RSVP)
If you’re in Sarasota, plan to attend our First Monthly Meetup, Saturday, August 28th, 4pm (location TBA). I want to gather for a meal and fellowship so we can look around and see who else is in this conversation.
I want to tell you about my family's experience in beta-testing this for the past couple months. And I want you to start imagining what it would be like for you to start or join a microchurch.
We'll keep it simple of course. Just a meal and a conversation. But we need to plan for how many, so please RSVP. Even if you’re interested but can’t make it, please mark that too so I get a sense of interest for future events.
Comment & Invite
Go poke around the rest of this website if you haven't yet. Start here. And then come back and comment.
My hope is that this blog forum would create conversation. I know most of us would rather read other people's comments than leave our own, but consider saying something just to let others know you're here. Perhaps you have a question that you think others are wondering? Or a concern that others are thinking? Start the conversation below.
So, that’s the update! The "new thing" is starting. Feel free to share this with anyone you know who might be craving a simpler way to be church.
(And don't forget to RSVP.)