Playing in the Bath
Right, this is draft two. The first one is in the bin (digitally speaking). Number one was long and boring. I don’t like reading ‘long and boring’ so why should you?
Bath, that’s the city not the annual event, is where we are. Yeah I know someone has to live here – suffering for Jesus. We got picked. I was expecting a foreign posting. Don’t ask.
Along with a bunch of others we left our previous church (brilliant church too BTW) a year or two ago. Some drifted off over the horizon; others began to gather in households while they figured out what to do next. We kind of knew why we were leaving – we planned to begin a church planting movement that was going to sweep the nation; no seriously we did. Go on humour me.
Another crazy couple shared our vision so off we went. That’s when it all went weird. We discovered that we were infected. Badly. Church as we had known it for so many years had infected the way we thought and did things. It was tough not to slip back into the default settings very quickly. So we had to go through a long de-tox program. Well actually it was more like a lot of fun. We spent a lot of time together eating and drinking and chatting. Well what would you have done clever clogs?
We slowly discovered some strong common values and a vision which has begun to emerge out of that. But you don’t want to hear about all that boring stuff, you know – organic, relational, community, simplicity, reproducibility, centrifugal not centripetal (what!? Yeah that’s what I thought too!), participative, dispersed leadership, strong mutual discipling, apostolic/prophetic… no I thought not.
Having babies is more fun than getting divorced
We don’t have a name, and don’t plan to have one either. We are a 24/7 community whose lives intertwine throughout the week. We have found a place of openness, trust and confidence that has enabled us to go through some truly awful things together. That’s cool. We gather in a home. We’re pretty lousy at integrating the kids (4-18 yrs). We’ve not been brilliant at the whole worship thing and we’re still figuring out mission. We have seen a number of de-churched restored to God and His Body. That’s cool too. And we are in the process of discipling a Muslim family in their home. See our vision is not to grow our thing bigger and bigger until it bursts into two, we reckon it’s more fun having babies than getting divorced. (I think that’s the right way round.)
Infact our plan is not to build anything at all, we just want to give stuff away, we want the Kingdom we have experienced to flow ever outwards. We’re not interested in having a sexy looking church in the middle to which we are constantly trying to get people along, where we desperately try to hold onto everyone and everything in sight. We want to see people going and making disciples wherever God says to go and if we can serve them in that we’ll be happy.
Why the heck should we expect people to leave their culture to come into our weird Christian culture? Jesus told us to leave ours and enter into theirs.
Church planting churches
We’re trying to figure out how to plant church planting churches that will plant more church planting churches. It’s kind of like space – where does it end? And if it does, what’s beyond that? Nah, I’m getting off subject here.
There are now about five nearly six household churches in Bath, Bristol and Chippenham and we are starting to get together occasionally to share stories and encourage one another. Hopefully where we are lacking other groups will be able to help us and vice versa.
Ok so it takes a little longer to get a church planting movement off the ground than we first thought but through some research I’m doing I have found a number of similar networks in the UK who have seen 4th & 5th generation plants amongst non-churched people. Now that is cool.
You may want to check out www.simplechurch.co.uk for some really boring stuff about this sort of organic, simple, home church stuff. Go on, you know you’ll love it.