While we were cooking dinner together tonight, Tricia and I started singing songs we grew up with in the church. Having both grown up at the same time and in AG churches, we sang many of the same songs. As we sang loudly in the kitchen, Davis just stared wondering how we learned all these songs without him! (Sometimes, I think he's convinced we had no life before him.) Then, I looked at Davis and said, "you're Mommy and Daddy grew up in a different type of church than you are growing up in and we learned lots of songs." I felt a tinge of sadness when I said it. Because I have many positive memories about church as a kid. Lots of programs and events gave me lots of feelings of involvement in something.
This caused me to reflect back on the things I appreciated about growing up in a church like that. I know that I post a lot about a new way of doing church...a way that I am deeply committed to exploring and living for many years to come. And most of what I say is positive.
But let me tell you a few things that I don't like about Simple Church:
- No music. I miss all the songs we used to sing. We don't worship God with singing much in Simple church...and when we do it can feel awkward.
- Leadership Confusion. I don't always enjoy the leadership dance of who is in charge, who is the actual leader, who is the perceived leader, etc. Oops, there is no leader. Jesus leads. Well, it doesn't always work out so perfectly...for real. Sometimes it feels clumsy, even like a game.
- Nothing's Big. Sometimes I really long for the energy & feeling of a room full of hundreds of people praising Jesus together. (We are trying to do corporate celebrations here and there, but they are not nearly as polished as a group of people that do this every week-- not that polish is the goal of church.)
- Immeasurable. The results of our life together as a church are not quite as measurable as are the results in traditional church (though, again, this is not a bad thing....perhaps it's the way it should be). You cannot gather numbers and bottom lines together to track "growth". Everything is more organic not quantifiable. Sometimes I miss assessment.
There is more, but this is start.
Note: I have neither thrown out the beautiful things I have learned in the past, nor have I embraced them as the way of the future. I also don't want you think that I am drinking simple church Kool Aid or something. I believe there are strengths for us to learn from in every type of church! And more and more I thinking that Jesus wants to use all types, styles, shapes and sizes.