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Finding Church: the book project and the blog series

Posted by on May 14, 2012 in blog links, church life, definition | 13 comments

Finding Church: the book project and the blog series

Jeremy at “Till He Comes” is putting together a book project called “Finding Church.” The subtitle of the book is “Stories of Leaving, Returning, Changing, and Transforming.” Last week, Jeremy provided a list of contributors in his post “Finding Church Contributors.”

In his post, Jeremy lists the contributors in each of four categories: Changing Church, Leaving Church, Reforming Church, and Returning to Church. I’m currently listed under all of those lists in the nefarious category of “Not Sent in the Story (but said they will!!!).” My story is complete and is on its way to Jeremy. Hopefully, he’ll decide to use it.

(By the way, it looks like he will still accept submissions in the next week if you’re interested in taking part in his project.)

I’m excited about reading different people’s stories. I find that God usually uses these stories to help me understand where other people are in their journeys with Christ.

I’m also excited about taking part, and I’m excited about the story that I’ve submitted. To be honest, I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump lately, and I have two big writing projects that I need to finish. So, hopefully, this will jump-start my own writing.

But, also being honest, when I start writing my submission, I struggled with which category to write for. In fact, in some ways, different parts of my own story could fit in each of the four categories in Jeremy’s project: Changing Church, Leaving Church, Reforming Church, and Returning to Church.

In the end, I decided to write on the topic of “Reforming Church.” Although, like many things that I write, I perhaps took a little different view of “Reforming Church” than you might expect.

However, I did enjoy thinking through each of the four categories, and I don’t want to lose those thoughts. So, I’ve decided to write a short blog series to go along with Jeremy’s book project.

For the next four days (five posts counting this one), I’m going to look at each of the four categories of Jeremy’s upcoming book Finding Church. I’ll write about how my own journey with Jesus Christ can fit into the categories of changing church, leaving church, reforming church, and returning to church.

But, what about you? If you were to write about your own journey with Jesus Christ, which of those categories do you think your life would best fit in? Why would you pick that category?


13 Comments

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  1. 5-14-2012

    Changing the Church
    For the church actually is in the believer and is the church in Christ. So much more for the reason to die to the flesh (law) any and be set free to God and God’s usefullness of you the believer
    purpose: for people to see the truth and be set free in Christ forever and ever here and now. yet as long as you try to obey any law you put yourself under the curse of the law even while the law in itself is Holy, but when you try it on it does not fit as Paul so clearly stated in Romans 1-5 and a remix of that in Romans 6-8
    Howard

  2. 5-14-2012

    Right now, as a pastor of a church, you could put me in the “hating church” category. Don’t misunderstand, I love the people. But I hate the instutionalization of the people and all that comes with it.

    So I propose a new category: Hating Church.

  3. 5-14-2012

    Alan, sorry, none of these categories…..having been down the leaving path, trying to return and or reform, and even transforming. I have discovered that the only thing to do is leave ‘Church’ and cleave to the Lord and follow Him. That is the only way that Jesus can build His ekklesia (His assembly/community) which is people who desire to become one with Him John 17.
    Beside that, if you attempt to reform something that is already corrupt, you will still end up with a tainted mess. Not so with Jesus. His Bride is without wrinkle….no spots. Out of His amazing love for us, we fall in love with Him (the groom)and follow Him to the ends of the earth.
    That is the picture I want….it is also the picture Jesus painted when He walked the earth in search of His Bride. We are all called to relationship with Christ(Eph 1), and out of that intimacy with Him, will come all that He has for us, now and into eternity. My prayer is that your eyes will be illuminated to know the hope of Christ’s calling for you…..a revelation of Christ in you, the hope of Glory.
    Nothing else matters…..ever!

  4. 5-14-2012

    I do not know yet. I think I need a category called exploring. LOL! I don’t think is it possible to change or reform church as it stands now. I am unwillingly in the category of leaving, and do not yet know how I can return.

  5. 5-14-2012

    Started attending different small gatherings in 1984, but kept leaving as they got too organized and inward focused creating more and more platforms for what I call institutional concepts instead of outreach and Jesus lead. I spent two years observing the dynamics of a mega church just after 9/11. Those observations made it clear to me that I had never been able to see any correlation between my spiritual life in Christ and what I saw and experienced in organized churches.
    The only cohesive experiences have been in fellowship with Christians who would gather in their homes spontaneously and without any agenda but to allow Jesus to lead and minister through each one gathered. I also always found that people who could gather like this, also we’re very active personally meeting strangers, evangelizing, and discipling new friends.
    God manifested himself in the form of a person Jesus Christ. Why do we bother with other forms found in organized religion: Sunday rules, funding buildings and denominations, cookie cutter programs,”leadership” , ect.?

    .

  6. 5-14-2012

    Leaving Church, then Changing Church, then Returning to Church.. I guess now reforming Church… but I don’t know :)

  7. 5-14-2012

    nevermind.. I just read the descriptions on the site…. I’m just in the Leaving category since 2010… after trying to reform.

  8. 5-15-2012

    Howard,

    In Jeremy’s categories, “changing church” refers to changing from one church to another. Your comment sounds more like Jeremy’s category “reforming the church.”

    Anonymous,

    Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, I’ve read too many stories like yours. May God lead you to a place where the organization/institutions does not impeded your ability to serve and love the church (the people) in Christ.

    Trevor,

    Did you know that in the phrase “Christ in you – the hope of glory”, the “you” is plural? Even that phrase points to the church – the people of God.

    Sheree,

    I hope you like my post on “reforming the church” while I’ll publish in a couple of days. :)

    Dori,

    It sounds like you experiences could fit into several of Jeremy’s categories as well.

    Randi,

    I don’t know either. These kinds of exercises are good for me to think about and remember how God has changed me and continues to change me… which is why I picked “reforming”.

    -Alan

  9. 5-15-2012

    Howard, In Jeremy’s categories, “changing church” refers to changing from one church to another. Your comment sounds more like Jeremy’s category “reforming the church.

    THank you for the correction, I know church is not what it was meant to be today in most of them. I have found that most are mixing law and grace, and I know water and oil will never mix, you can stir it up but always ends up seperated
    Thanks again Howard, I appreciate you for being you

  10. 5-15-2012

    Alan, whether the you is plural or not does not allow you to escape – it is still Christ in you, the hope of glory. The word church has become an obnoxious term as it includes all and sundry……even the crazy organizations who are most ungodly. Jesus said ‘follow me’….Paul said ‘imitate me as I imitate Christ’….Jesus said ‘the things I do, you will do also, and greater things than these’. Alan, these are the people who this refers to…….Christ is meant to be in us, alive, living as Jesus walked on the earth…..this is the hope of Glory…..not a ‘church’ system whatever that may be. Read the scriptures and accept them as true…..’church’ is a man made thing trying to reach God in our own way. Now if you want to go ahead and reform a man made institution, all I can say is …..good luck! You are wasting your time. Just follow Jesus….and He will build His assembly of people, and the gates of hell will not prevail when we become like Christ.

  11. 5-15-2012

    Trevor,

    You said, “Jesus said ‘the things I do, you will do also, and greater things than these’. Alan, these are the people who this refers to…….Christ is meant to be in us, alive, living as Jesus walked on the earth…..this is the hope of Glory.” Yes, this is the people I refer to when I use the term “church.”

    You also said, “Now if you want to go ahead and reform a man made institution, all I can say is …..good luck! You are wasting your time.” I’m not interesting in changing any organizations or institutions or systems.

    -Alan

  12. 5-15-2012

    Trevor, yes, and where is that scripture that says the one that God built not man. This is usually me reply when asked what church do i asttend, good spiritual post
    Howard

  13. 5-15-2012

    right on Alan, good clarification
    Howard