Sunday, May 21, 2006

Happy Birthday OCC

This month, Ordinary Community Church turns 5 years old. Birthed out of a lot of pain and hardship, has brought passion and healing. We're really not that much, ordinary fits us. But together we are learning what it means to follow Jesus and invite others into His Kingdom experience. We are receptacles of the Divine, so the Divine lives in neighborhoods. We have birthed many children in the past 5 years and they are growing up with a different worldview of Church.

Before my wife and I decided to plant OCC, we were told: "it won't work", "you have no discipleship plan", "your theology is questionable", "we're not going to support you", "you sound angry", "shouldn't you be extra-ordinary?", "when will you launch a service?", "what programs are you going to have?", "when will you be self-supporting?", "you will have a building at some point, right?". I was personally isolated and rejected by those who were previously spiritual family, good times ;)

My favorite one is "it won't work". So much is loaded in that statement. If we can't be content with the fact "where 3 or more are gathered, there I am in the midst of them" as a church model, then we have issues. Church is not someplace you go, its a people you belong to. Our world is becoming increasingly post-Christian. If I worked as "pastor", its not an acceptable role from a missiological standpoint in culture. So that is why I work at IWU as my "tentmaking" profession in the tradition of Paul. Its not the only way to do it, its just where God has led me. Is vocational pastoring ok? Sure, just differendt sets of pros and cons my friends, and I've chosen this set.

We don't have paid staff and a building so finances are never an issue. We use our offerings to support the community gatherings and give to missional causes in our neighborhoods. I am just am not a CEO type and frankly couldn't last if I had to worry about $$ all the time. Just a choice to be more simple. The more simple I am, the more I can pay attention to people around me. I'm a better Shepherd if I'm paying attention.

5 years ago, 8 people gathered in our living room to start writing a story called Ordinary Community Church. God has written many more chapters. We have had some house churches and folk come and go. Today we have 3 house churches networked together that make up OCC. Is it working? It is bringing me to depths in Christ following that i didn't know even existed. I love it and am completely content.

I believe that Church fundamentally is a movement of Spirit. If we stay in tune with the Spirit, more chapters are going to be written that have relevance in the Kingdom of God.

Thanks OCC.


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