I’ve invited several people to write “guest blog posts” for this blog. There are several reasons for this: 1) To offer different perspectives. 2) To generate even more discussion and conversation between blogs. 3) To introduce other bloggers to my readers.
(If you are interested in writing a guest blog post, please contact me at aknox[at]sebts[dot]com.)
Seeking God together without a formula
When Alan asked me to write to you guys and tell you about the group I meet with I wondered exactly what I was going to say. I mean I know what we do and what is going on but how do I communicate it to others who read this? Well, here is my attempt. May God bless you in reading this as he has us in finding community and relationships as we seek out God’s desire for what the church is and how it functions here in Jefferson City, MO.
It all started as 3 of us guys had met, all having a desire for more than what we had been getting through church. A roommate of mine, Brett who attends the Spanish church, and I began to go to coffee shops when I was a youth pastor and decided about 5 months ago over dinner we needed to hang out with more people. About that same time I started working at a coffee shop in Jeff and one of the guys I work with started talking about a Bible study. We invited some people to meet on the patio where Justin and I work and so we began.
Being primarily made up of twenty something’s we naturally ask a lot of questions of church functions, structures and how to have community but also serve others as well. We desire to build relationships that reach people’s needs being faithful to the Gospel to go. Those opportunities are being explored as we find areas in our community where we can serve, hopefully breaking down walls that generations have produced within our culture in America. In our society older people have a lot of untapped knowledge that the younger generations write off. Personally, I desire older men to invest in me and mentor me as I realize more and more how much they have that I don’t in all areas of life. I believe all in our group think this way in the directions they are headed and careers they pursue.
So, what are we? A bible study, a church, a group of friends? The answer: yes. We are all of those things. We eat a lot of meals together and with our cultural experiences that is diverse as well. Just this past weekend we trekked to Columbia, MO to eat at a new Cajun restaurant. But it’s more than different types of food. It’s about building relationships. One of my friends told me he heard a pastor say, “People in this younger generation take a solid year to build a substantial relationship with another person.” We have only been meeting for 3 months, every other week, and only a handful has known each other before we all met.
We are still meshing friendships and growing to being a group that, together and individually, reaches others with the pure love of the Gospel of Christ. We aren’t against typical church but realize the current church structure leaves us hungry… actually all of us have other congregations we attend on Sunday mornings. God is the Father and the church, being the bride, is our mom… and you don’t talk bad about my mom. We all need work, but the point lies in the searching. We don’t desire status quo and “always has been” just because “that’s what we do.” We have legit questions and legit searching and are relying on the Father, the Son and the Spirit to guide us as we continue to grow.
It’s not about formulas and to be honest we are learning that it’s ok not to structure our worship times together around what we have “always done”. Our prayer is that God would use this time in our lives to grow us. We may not last long in our small group as 3 of our girls are almost positively leaving for other countries to live for extended times to teach and one couple, Justin the co-worker, is leaving soon with his wife Kallie to attend seminary in KC. Brett, my roommate, is trying to leave as well to teach or just live in another country. Whatever result it will be for God’s glory but I’m convinced he is using us to meet a need here now and mature us for the future.
This is what it’s about right? Building relationships, living life with one another… because I think you would agree formulas get old and many times they attempt to limit a limitless God through our control. Fact is we are being pursued each moment by the Father who crafted each one of us. I agree with Donald Miller in Searching for God Knows What that God, as a perfect being, did what only a perfect being could do. He was selfless and created us to enjoy Him. He also pursues us even though we are fallen and undeserving of any grace He bestows. I just don’t find that in a formula. My prayer is that God’s children would let walls fall by the second each day so more and more we can be fluid and flexible in loving people. Remember it’s not a battle against flesh and blood and so, together, we have to rely on the Spirit to mesh our messy lives bringing a loving light into a dark world.
May God get ALL the glory!