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'Off the beaten Track' - Emerging Church

13 April, 2004 4:19 PM

'Should I or shouldn't I?'

It is a question I've found myself asking on many occasions over the past yeah and a half as I've sat down to blog on particular matters. One of the first rules of blogging for most bloggers is to work out where your boundaries are of what you will and won't blog about.

It is a question I ask a lot - particularly when I blog about the Livingroom community that I belong to (and which this blog is named after).

Someone the other day said that I keep my cards close to my chest when I talk about the group - I tend to share what we do in our gatherings in impersonal ways and talk about the theory of emerging church rather than about who we are as a group in more intimate ways.

I do this because our little group is a fragile thing, that is still forming identity and finding its way. We (like all communities and churches) are made up of real people - each with our own brokenness and issues - it wouldn't be appropriate to share details that might approach this personal ground.

However in creating such boundaries I guess I run the danger of painting an all too rosy and perhaps rather sanitized picture of what our little group is like, what its like to lead an emerging missional church and the issues that such groups face.

Whilst the past year of birthing Livingroom has been a wonderful experience there have also been times of real lowness and frustration. I've been confronted numerous issues on a personal level as I look at my giftings (and lack of them), the places I get my self worth, the old paradigms that I still unconsciously hold onto and my own personal weaknesses and brokenness.

Working in a small group has its definite pluses but it can also be a lonely and frustrating process. Momentum is difficult to maintain and the pool of resources (not just financial) are much lower.

Amidst the excitement of new beginnings and possibilities comes periods of doubt. It is easy to fall back on old habits of ministry that are 'safe and comfortable' even though that I know that God is challenging us to break new ground.

In preparing for tonight's group I found myself reading Mtt 7:13-14 - the idea of a 'narrow path' is one that I can relate to at the moment. At times I wonder if we're on a path at all and if we're just 'bush bashing' - maybe we lost the track a while back?

Yet there is a call to continue to move forward that drives me on - despite the the narrowness and congestion of that which surrounds our 'path'. I'm not sure what the destination is (or is there one?) but the call is to keep journeying - and we do.



Wonderful post Darren - it resonanted with me deeply. Some of the most insightful lessons that I have been given, I find I can't post on because of exactly what you wrote.

phil » 13 April, 2004 5:08 PM

I find that the "narrow path" is one that seems more and more narrow the further we travel on our Christian journey. Really the path was always that narrow ... but either our own immaturity or God's grace has kept us from the pain of seeing how far off-track we have been - until the time comes when we can handle that revelation. But Darren, if you find yourself "bush bashing", I don't think it's necessarily because you're off the track. It's very likely that the path is simply overgrown because too few Christians go there ....

James » 13 April, 2004 8:12 PM

I know exactly what you mean about keeping cards close to your chest.

The last thing I would want is for anyone who I want to introduce to Jesus to read about 'my progress' on the internet.

I'm part of a completely secular group that I love. I am seeking to form closer friendships for a couple of reasons. One: Because there are some great people there who I value as friends. Two: Because I want to introduce them to Jesus.

I know that some of the posts on my blog may seem unimportant but I respect the people I'm trying to reach out to and I refuse to break their confidence online.

It has been surprising over the last couple of weeks to find several different people that I've known for years reading my blog. They're the ones I know about. Only God knows who else is reading.

Rodney Olsen » 14 April, 2004 12:42 AM

I'm beginning to realize that, no matter what the calling is, there seems to periods of "lowness" and challenges of various sorts. I have often struggled with my giftings (and lack thereof). But surprisingly, Jesus always seems to make up for (in some genuinely miraculous ways) for my short comings. Is it so that he get's the glory? Or is it a learning process? Or perhaps something else altogether? Well, it doesn't matter b/c what it comes down to is: Big God...little Rich. Now if only I can trust in that equasion (sp?...it's late and I'm bushed).

Well, thanks for that!

Rich » 14 April, 2004 1:08 PM

Mate, you don't need to be part of a small group / new expression of church to feel what you're feeling...you'd be suprised about how much we have in common despite different contexts.... :-)

Paul Fromont » 14 April, 2004 2:44 PM

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