Sunday, May 16, 2004

I wanted to respond to some questions regarding what it means for us to have been "affiliated" with the MBC. It actually has more to do with the MBC than it does for us. As for how could we qualify for it? We had to show in real life that we are a healthy community of believers who desire to seek God's Kingdom in our neighborhoods. We are a bit of a pioneer community for them so they have not measured us by typical church planting measures, but rather because of their trust in us, allowed us to set those measures. The only thing they asked for was for us to show how we desired to be re-producing or that we wanted to be planting new communities (house churches) and not just one. But there has been no pressure on counting, just that they know its our heart to do so within organic relationships. We also tithe back to the MBC to show that we believe in them and their desire to change and affirm new kinds of church planting. They officially created a new category for what we're doing called "apostolic church planting" as opposed to traditional church planting. They are also hoping that we could help them assess new planter types and design some processes for supporting and coaching others who desire to be "outside the box" of traditional planting. They recognize that it isn't fast church growth, it isn't sexy, it doesn't create $$ for the conference. But they believe its healthy and biblical. If there was the typical pressure, we never would have made it this far. So the MBC has been willing to be learners in this process and it has been a great relationship with them.
As for why is it important for OCC to be connected to the MBC? I can say that I had a strong impression from God that as we began this story about 4 years ago, he put it in my heart that we should be a part of a larger spiritual family and see it as an investment. Sure, we can do what we're doing without any official affiliation, but I felt called to walk through the murky waters of where an established church conference who gives 73% of its resources into planting new churches could partner with a network of house churches and see it as a win/win. It was all about relationship. I have a great relationship with Dan Peterson, exec. director of MBC. And out of our friendship is forming a new stream for church planting and perhaps helping many other planters out there like us who feel alone and could be supported. Its not about $$, the MBC has little resources to help there, but we're bi-vocational anyways. The issue is family, belonging, different contexts but one kingdom and one faith and one baptism. So why are we glad to be a part of the MBC? Because its pro-Kingdom. And I'm committed to being more pro-Kingdom than I am being anti-institution. Deconstruction and reactivity are not a big enough idea for me. Partnering with Creator-God to do new things, mend broken relationships with Church at large and still be about organic mission here on earth is what keeps me going. Its been very healthy. If we de-humanize organizations and not understand that they are made up people like us, then I think we can miss out on Kingdom possibilities. However, I am not naive. This partnership may not work in 95% of all other denoms. out there, all I'm saying that this has been an exception to the rule and I'm glad to have been a part of this ongoing story, which I believe is a part of the greater Story.


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