Gathered AND Scattered… some week for me…

I’m a church planter. I guess, considering that it has been 10 years, I have to admit that now, I’m a pastor more so than a church planter.

Planting, pastoring & even merging a church has been the most troubling, humbling, painful, discouraging and challenging thing of which I’ve ever been a part. I can’t really imagine ever being able to muster up the strength/guts to do it again.

It’s also, however, been the most rewarding, valuable and spiritually uplifting experience of my life… bar none…

Rarely do I ever feel as close to God as I did during the first year of planting 4RC. It was awesome… like we were living in the New Testament.

We saw conversion, battled demons, raised up leaders, and literally could see, feel, sense and know that we were walking with the Spirit of God in a way that few had been able to walk.

There have been a few watershed moments for me as a pastor/planter.

They are painful but life altering and usually add greatly to the story of God’s work in me.

This week, and the few years leading up to this week, have been used by God as one of those watershed moments.

Everything changes for me and probably anyone very close to me from this point on.

I’m headed back to town with more clarity than I’ve had in years. Seriously… years.

Over the past few years I have strived for clarity. But by and large I’ve been confused by most of the things I’ve encountered. I’ve struggled to hold together what we had given so much time to plant.

I’ve seen people come and go, lost very valuable relationships, been misunderstood and judged, and ultimately felt very weak as a leader.

And in the process I have missed the communion with God and the Saints that I had grown accustomed to. I’m ready to get that back.

I don’t care what the cost.

As our church has grown, my role has shifted many times. I’ve been what I thought I needed to be… not always what I was called to be…

I’m sure that has been a big part of the problem.

At this point I don’t know where to lay the blame. I’m sure I’m responsible for a big part of it.

And correctly laying blame isn’t worth the movement of God it may prevent anyway. So, that’s enough about whose at fault.

I’ve written all of this to end up at this point…

The local church in America is under attack. Sometimes those attacks come from inside. Sometimes from outside.

And sometimes, we actually battle ourselves. (Kind of makes sense, considering that Jesus’ long prayer in the gospels was that his followers would be united.) Its like He knew that we could move toward self destruction… if left unguided by His Spirit.

One major inner battle that our church and… based on what I saw at Exponential this weekend… many churches are facing is the struggle of Gathered vs. Scattered.

Is the church defined by the Sunday gathering? Or is the church defined by the Community of House Groups?

We at 4RC have tried to bring these two groups together. But we’ve pretty much stunk at it. We’ve had good ideas… but bad application.

We’ve had some leadership failures and some oversight ‘undersights.’

This weekend I come home with a renewed excitement and energy about this topic. We can be a gathered and scattered church and movement of God.

We can and I believe and hope that we will…

I know that this means a new role for me. It will probably affect me and my family in very big ways.

But like I said earlier… at any cost…

Pray for me as I prepare to share the heart of what I believe God is sharing.

This Sunday night may be the most important moment of preaching and communication that I have ever faced.

Alot weighs in the balance. I’m nervous and excited.

I expect that if we go down this road, we too will see lives changed, battle demons and have the opportunity to walk with God and one another in a way that only few get to see.

Can you imagine what a church could look like if there were hundreds of people who genuinely engaged in the mission of seeing individuals connected and transformed by Jesus?

If people overcame the notion of simply ‘coming to church’ and started ‘going as the church with the gospel?’

Come go with me. You have no idea how much you are needed.