The Mini Gathering
Last Sunday I finally got to meet face to face with some friends made via Internet and was privileged to join in the Sunday meeting of their fellowship. There were not even a dozen of us. Meeting in a home. Worshipping, sharing, experiencing the presence of the Lord in and among us (in a 'clump' like this picture). This is church being rediscovered from the grass roots, informed by the writings of Gene Edwards, Frank Viola and others. A community living within walking distance of one another; allowing the Lord to lead them into whatever He leads them into. Taking time to allow His way to be revealed in their life together and to grow in Him.
No hard structures. No leadership but Jesus. No rules but the ones He sets.
My only contact up to now was two or three years of (at times) intensive e-mail with one of the members. Yet I felt at home, received, welcomed into the fellowship, a member of the body. This is the networked church, the Body of Christ, built from the living members.
On the way home I had some questions:
- Could / should people be church this way anywhere? Or would the answer be - "we are just following Jesus. We don't have a formula. Let Jesus lead you in your place and time."?
- How did the group come to its present membership? Was there some kind of self-selection process with people dropping off who found they were expecting something else.
- How does decision making in the group work?
- Are there really no leaders? In any group are there not some who come to be regarded as having more weight, authority, experience, wisdom, whatever?
So, lots of analytical questions. But that's probably the wrong approach. I read today Galatians 5:4-6. The last bit comes down to: "the law, rules, regulations, logical analysis count for nothing - The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." So I should just accept the blessing of being there. That is what I experienced - faith expressing itself through love. It was a heavenly experience. Beautiful sunny day. Nice drive through the Dutch landscape with mountainous piles of cumulus in the morning sun. Now and then light a shower and a rainbow. Peaceful surroundings. Beautiful people. No pressure. Just be. Join us. Welcome. Jesus. Worship. Care. Love. Gentleness. Understanding. Totally cool.
Atlantasaints.com are living rather like the group I visited.