Story

Meeting Jesus over a latte

Eddie Chapman imagines also meeting Christ over a latte

Hi, welcome to our virtual coffee shop. Pull up a chair, take the load of your feet. Let’s chat.

So who are you, where you from, what do you do in life?
Eddie Chapman. 29(just) from Melbourne, Australia (Mont Albert to be precise – leafy, middle class, middle suburb. Lots of old people and young professionals/couples). Work – run a peak community organisation for local problem gambling services (www.gamblershelp.org is us!). Non work – bushwalker, mountain biker, husband, soon to be father, was surely a beatnik in another life…

Can I get you a drink? Cappucino, earl grey, dandelion and burdock, pale ale?
A vodka martini would be nice, given that it’s now officially after 5pm!

Would you like a doughnut or pastry to go with that?
You don’t stay my size by indulging in such things! Plus dinner’s soon.. must save room…

So, if you had to describe the church/project/experiment/thingy you are currently involved with in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
A fragile attempt with a few friends to create the kind of church we’d all love to be a part of, and which we hope thus others might be also.

Are you an instigator? / new recruit? / have absolutely no recollection of how you got involved?
Instigator. Although I never intended to be the instigator of this kind of thing. My keener interest was in bigger, flashier alt.worship type services within an existing church. When that fell flat, a few friends of mine asked whether I’d be interested in starting up some kind of other church/thing, which led us to this, which has its value too, but just isn’t what I was aiming for. God playing funny-buggers I think.

What do you value most about being part of it?
The ability for it to be created from scratch, with no limitations, no previous role models, no authorities watching us.

What excites you most about it?
The potential of the group and its members, which I hope to see, but know realistically I may not.

Has anyone ever turned up out of the blue not knowing what to expect?
What did they say?

Nope. I wish they would though.

Three words that describe your attitude to ‘being church’ in the big wide world: Christ-like, Human, Approachable

Three words that DON’T:
Stifling, Status quo, Exclusive

You have this weird dream – you meet Jesus face to face.
Where does it happen, what does he say to you?

Probably in some cafe… over a latte. I think he’d say something about being pleased with what I’m trying to do for him, but reprimanding me for focussing too much on that and forgetting that he wants to be in a relationship with me first, and that the group comes second.

What’s the big secret you’re itching to share with everyone?
My dream for this group – for I fear that by verbalising what I hope it will become and could do, that it might evaporate. The dream that we could become significant, not in terms of #’s, but in terms of output and thought and worship and prayer and devotion. And thus impact the mainstream church with grace and conviction and wisdom.

What would your ’emerging church survival kit’ contain?
A large bottle of liquor – To quell the sorrows that would undoubtedly face anyone trying this. Lots of encouraging examples of other successes with other ECs, and also stories of other failures that were ‘worthwhile failures’… Lots of worship and prayer ideas for creating spirituality, that work with small groups. Phone numbers of every other group within driving distance doing similar or related things. A bible – to remember people not to forget the basics! And a large brown paper bag of humility…

Anything else you’d like to share with us before you have to rush off?
I think that’s all!

Thanks. Good to see you. Have a good day!