Neo: The Matrix.
Well, no, not quite the Matrix! But I do want to tell you about the splinter in my mind.
Let me tell my story and how I came to this place. I was actively involved with an unconventional independent church that operated with the plurality of elders but one that for the most part was still pastor centric. Not by the pastors doing. But because in large part, he had a flock of spiritually weak Christians, and yes I was one of them. Weakness that came about because of too much pew sitting and listening rather than flexing of spiritual muscles by being involved in the functioning of the body is my assessment.
It was the Fall of 2003. We had a new couple join our church and my wife and I had them and their children over for dinner. In getting to know them the subject came up about something called "house church". As he described this to me, it kind of sounded like a bible study but he was quick to clarify the difference. A bible study most likely is a function of an established church and done as an extension of that church. House church, on the other hand was not an add on program to a church service on a Sunday but instead "was" the church meeting! It sounded a little odd but my wife and I agreed to try this with this couple for two months and only every other week, Wednesdays. That way if the experiment didn't really work out then we both had an out. By the second meeting my heart was totally in and there was no turning back! I guess it may have been the intimacy that grabbed my heart first. Then it was church striped down to the bare essence and simplicity that made it so desirable. No fancy furniture. No ceremonial accouterments. Just friends and family members that loved each other, and trusted each other so as to allow total vulnerability to exist. And the leader of these meetings is always the Holy Spirit. No agendas or schedules. His plans trump ours. Let me tell you, He does an awesome job too!
And it's more than just some emotional experience. My walk with God deepened more in a couple months than the previous 25 years as a Christian. The impact to me spiritually is too significant to describe in the space I have here. Suffice it to say it brought me to a point of personal revival. I am not the same person I was then. As people close to me will attest.
So you go down this road and you wonder, "Is there anyone else on this road?" Well rest assured there is, by the millions! The more passionate I became about this "new wineskin" the more I saw God's hand prints all over it. This was not about rebels leaving church and running from authority. It was completely the opposite. We were simply following the leading of the Holy Spirit and running to the complete authority of Jesus over the church. And living out what He called us to be, "a priesthood of believers".
I'm in love with this experience more now, 7 years later, than the day we started down this path. I hope you enjoy this article about others being led toward this experience. When I read this, it was as if I, or someone from our house church, had written it. The church meeting described almost mirrors the way ours also tends to flow.
It's very fulfilling to be involved in a movement that God's doing. If your contemplating sticking your toes in to test the water then here is my advice, JUMP IN! The waters fine.