Monday, January 17, 2011 at 8:55AM
Living with Freaks

A common question I receive when explaining our churchlife situation to others is: "What do you do about leadership and teaching?"

Perhaps I will leave the leadership part for another post, but I do want to talk about teaching.

Experiencing churchlife without a dedicated, paid staff certainly has its advantages and disadvantages. As far as disadvantages, I am constantly reminded of why people get paid to do this work! Churchlife is hard work, and relying on a group of volunteers with jobs and spouses and kids to all do what needs to be done can be quite messy.

But "messiness" I think is the biggest advantage as well. In fact, I wonder if messiness is really a bad thing? I certainly do not always like it, and I know that our God is a God of order, but He is also a God who uses messiness to keep us focused upon Him and not "a show."

I think you are hard pressed to look at the church in the New Testament without admitting to a lot of messiness. Interestingly, it is rare when it seems that anyone tries to resolve this by bringing order. Yes, there is a certain amount of order brought, such as the distribution of food or when people are talking over one another in Corinth. But God's answer isn't to put one person in charge. In fact, I think it's quite amazing that Paul asks the saints in Corinth to practice a little more order without setting up the order himself or appointing official leaders to handle it.

Here is my point: the church of Jesus Christ has the life of Jesus Christ. But if you want to have that life come out, you have to demand it. You have to be desperate about it. You have to be willing for meetings to fall apart, for lots of awkwardness, and to be more patient than you can imagine.

And that requires a willingness for a certain amount of messiness.

And that's surprisingly difficult. Especially in America.

Yesterday, Michael did a teaching on Daniel 3 (the story of the three being thrown into the furnace) for the church. He gave the teaching at Lansharx (a computer and video game teaching business owned by Greg). Adults and most children were present (Patrick and Brandy cared for the little children in their home).

And it was incredible. But it was not just incredible because Michael had great things to say. No, it was incredible because saints did not just come with their empty cups to be filled. They came to teach as well. Jacob and Corrie shared about saints in Iran who are being persecuted in similar fashion to what you see in Daniel 3. Amy and Aaron shared about their own furnace experience with their job situation recently. People brought songs to sing. The kids participated in acting out the story using a "furnace" that Clint spent hours to build. And at the end, Ron asked us to gather around two families that are currently going through the furnace and to pray for them.

It has been a struggle over the last several years to learn how to "come out" with the Christ that we have. It has taken many, many meetings that just weren't all that great. And I have no doubt that we will continue to have such meetings. But those meetings are a small price to pay for a group of laymen to learn how to come together and minister Christ to one another.

After all, isn't that what churchlife is meant for? 

Article originally appeared on Living with Freaks (http://www.livingwithfreaks.com/).
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