It’s Sunday morning and my wife is sleeping. My 4 mo. daughter, Angelina, and I are in the front room listening to Bebop Jazz. She is playing with her mobile while I drink my latte and reflect on how our faith community began.
(I’m playing with my daughter more than thinking though.)
Cheryl and I knew Tina through my good freind Steve. At the time, we were not close friends with Tina and her husband Jack.* We would drop by occasionally when Steve was around (Usually when they were having a party or something). They are a military family with four kids living the lifestyle of many Middle-Class Americans.
We always thought they were good honest people but we lived 98 miles away from Puyallup and that precluded anything but a passing intersection with their lives. We saw them about a dozen times in the course of three or four years.
That began to change when we moved about 1 mile from their house.
About a year after I graduated from Regent College we moved to Puyallup as we felt God leading us to plant an Emerging Church in that area. With no jobs, limited resources and only a casual acquaintance in the area we packed up our things and moved in Faith.
During our first 18 months I looked for work, made plans, wrote proposals for my denomination, talked with church planters and in the end started a faith community that was nothing like what I had planned.
It was a little over a year ago when Tina asked us to start our church in her home. The fact that she was drunk at the time made me a bit skeptical about her request. As the weeks passed, Tina asked us to start a home church in her home several more times.
When I asked her why she said, “I believe in God but find the church to be rather superficial b’sides Jack’s mom is a hard core bible thumper. He believes that you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.”
I nodded my head, “Being in community sure helps though.” I replied.
“That is why I want you to start your church here.” Tina said with a look of earnestness in her eyes. “You and Cheryl are just ‘real’. You guys don’t put on an act or think you are better than anybody else . . . you try to live what you believe. . . our family needs that. What do you say? Can we start next week?”
“I wonder if Jesus would have made her ask only once.” I thought to myself.
I looked Tina in the eye and said, “We sure can. I’m sorry id did not take you seriously before.”
The next week we began our little faith community. No kick-off celebrations . . .no plan. . . no community mailings. . . . no big push to get people to join. Just a few people looking to Get-to-know God better and share their lives.
The genesis of our fellowship was light-years away from the institutional approach to community formation that is popular in Evangelical circles today. Yet it is one that I feel God has His hand in.
At the time I was unsure how long this would last but I was ready for the adventure. I did not think it would last a month when we started out yet here we are a year later still meeting.
* Names Changed
(NOTE: This is the first post in a series on our community)