the weblog of Alan Knox

Old friends go; new friends come: the life of a pilgrim on the Way

Posted by on Dec 21, 2011 in blog links | 4 comments

Old friends go; new friends come: the life of a pilgrim on the Way

Yesterday, I noticed with much interest that Josh at “Called to Rebuild” had written a new blog post called “Reflecting on three years in organic church life.” I’ve been following Josh’s blog for a while (probably not for 3 years), and I always enjoy his post. So, I was looking forward to reading this “reflection” post.

Now, to begin with, I have to admit that Josh’s post is not what I expected – it’s even better. He does not go into the details of his “organic church life” nor does he talk about how much better it is than traditional/institutional church life.

Instead, Josh talks about some of the current struggles that he’s having. What are those struggles? Well, the brothers and sisters that he and his family have been gathering with are no longer going to assemble together.

Here is that part of the post:

Alas, however, in our case the old adage came to pass that “all good things must come to an end.” One couple moved, then another, and others who were meeting with us decided to pursue other courses, and now there is nothing in the way of a visible gathering left to show. Cue the sad music. Not really.

(Make sure to jump over to Josh’s post and read the rest. It is all very good, and includes some details about how all these people came together in the first place.)

When I read this post – and especially the paragraph above – I was reminded of something. According to Scripture, the very first Christians referred to themselves as “The Way.” They knew that they were on a path, a journey, living a way of life. And, they knew that was the life of a pilgrim – to go wherever God sent them.

Now, this does not always make it easy for us – such as in Josh’s case. But, we can trust God that as some brothers and sisters and opportunities move out of our lives, others will move in. The brothers and sisters and opportunities will be different… but they will be exactly what we need.

As difficult as it is to do sometime, when people move out of our lives – for whatever reason – we should look back to the many things that God taught us through our relationship with them and look forward to the new things that God is going to do through new relationships.

Has anyone else experienced this or is anyone else experiencing this now?


4 Comments

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  1. 12-21-2011

    I remember early on in my journey out of traditional/institutional church life reading Frank Viola (can’t remember which reference)and he made the statement that most home church assemblies (or the average?) last about four years. In his context, it was dealing with the foundation of the group in the beginning…was it started from a group that all got mad and left somewhere or all had some kind of common interest or wanted to pursue something that amounted to another tradition. If the foundation of the assembly wasn’t Christ, it was doomed.

    But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
    1 Cor. 3:10-11

    I don’t think this is unique to home/organic meetings. I think it is symptomatic of people everywhere looking to fill a void with the wrong thing. You have the same membership revolving door most anywhere. But God also moves us around according to His purpose – sometimes down the street and sometimes to another state/country.

    We have had dear friends move to other states. We have had folks change assemblies and come back (we do not have “members” per se). We have met with brethren that changed assemblies and have not met with us again. We have met brethren in traditional/institutional assemblies that have met with us but stayed “members” where they were/are. I have also noticed that as one group moves on, another seems to appear.

    Currently, the majority of our group has either recently moved or is planning to in the next year. Not so far away we cannot meet together, but enough to put a real physical strain on trying to maintain the same relationship. It is provoking us to consider/study how “local” is a local assembly. I think it is going to be good for us – force us to engage in the places we are going to – taking what we have learned together and sharing with someone else. We have been together long enough for that.

  2. 12-21-2011

    Eric,

    “As one group moves on, another seems to appear…” Yes, I’ve noticed this also. I also like the way you see these times as “good for us.”

    -Alan

  3. 12-21-2011

    Thanks for the link, Alan, and thanks for your encouragement. Life is an adventure, that’s for sure.

  4. 12-22-2011

    Josh,

    Thanks for the great post and for sharing what is going on your lives.

    -Alan