8 December, 2008 3:01 PM
Today I realized that it's been just over 12 months since our little family moved on from LivingRoom.
As a result I thought perhaps it was a time to do a little reflecting upon the last year as we've transitioned as a family from the community. I hope this jumble of thoughts, experiences and half baked ideas comes out OK :-)
A few significant 'moments' and 'observations' from the last 12 months include:
Moving house in Decmember last year (we celebrated our first year anniversary in the house last weekend and it's beginning to feel like home.
Adjusting to a new area - we've moved from North of Melbourne to East - from a very multi cultural area with a lot of social economic variety to a quite mono cultural area with a more middle to upper middle class feel - from an area where churches have traditionally struggled to the 'bible belt' where there are some very large churches (well large in comparison to LivingRoom).
Our second son, Henri, arriving in June. He's a beautiful little boy and while he's only just started giving us a full night's sleep has been a wonderful little fellow to have in our family. Xavier is now 2 and a half and is growing up fast. He's enjoyed living only a few minutes from grandparents.
New Church - We started attended 'One Community Church'. On some levels it was a logical choice (we have a lot of friends there and it is walking distance) but in some ways it couldn't have been more different to LivingRoom (it's relatively large, their worship style is very 'contemporary', they've just done a big building project etc).
Despite some of the differences the heart of the church is quite similar to LivingRoom with a real heart for mission, some amazing people and a similar Theology.
To be honest when we first started going to 'One' (and a couple of other churches locally) late last year we had quite a bit of 'culture shock'. Despite having grown up in and working in churches quite like it - having been out of that type of church for a few years meant having to make some adjustments on a number of levels.
For example the 'singing thing' was really bizarre. Listening to a monologue sermon for 20 minutes without a chance to interact/discuss/question/reflect/do anything creative was particularly challenging for me. Being a part of a community that had just invested significant time and money into a building was also something I had to get my head around.
However over time and particularly as we've invested more into the relationships in the place we've begun to find ourselves more and more 'at home' in this community. I'm sure a few of our friends have raised their eyebrows at the idea (I've done so myself) but at this point it seems right - at least for now.
'Ministry' - for the first time since my early 20's I'm not either a 'minister' or leader of a church. This perhaps has been one of the bigger adjustments for me. It had been something I'd been transitioning to for a while (I'd not been in paid ministry for a year or two and I'd increasingly been thinking about my work as tied to my faith) but it was a bit of a shift in how I saw myself (and perhaps has been a shift in how others saw me too).
I've continued to see what I do in my work and business as tied to faith (ministry if you want to call it that) and have seen that continue to grow and open up opportunities. To be honest I'm not quite sure what to do with it but I've grown my blogs now to a point where I have the opportunity to communicate with a couple of million people each month.
There's an opportunity there and I continue to grapple with how to allow God to use me in that way. Mainly that looks nothing like what I would have regarded as 'ministry' before - and is relating to and seeking to be there for people.
Interestingly in the last two weeks I've been asked by a few people to do some preaching. I've not done any (a part from writing daily blog posts.... which at times feels similar) for 12 months and am looking forward to doing a little more of it.
One of the other interesting things is that since releasing my book in April (another 'event' from the last year) I've had quite a large number of people wanting to talk about faith and spirituality as a result of the introductory chapter of the book where I talk a little about my background. I only included it in the book to give a little context to my story - but it seems to have connected with people - and stimulated some interesting conversations.
The other reflection that I have about not being in a 'formal' ministry position these days is that on some levels I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Being able to attend church without feeling I have some responsibility to keep things going, without having to have to prepare anything, being able to sit with my family - all of these things have been very refreshing.
All in all 2008 has been a real year of transition. With the change has come a mixture of excitement and the challenge of adjusting - but all in all it's been a good experience.