Over the past few months, our church community has been meeting in different homes. We are going through our second round of rotating through 3 homes. We are discovering that hosting worship services on Sunday can get difficult. When we first started meeting in our home in October, the novelty of meeting and worshipping in a home was really ‘cool’. I have written about how meaningful that has been for us. Over time, however, we are discovering the impact of the Sunday that comes after yet another Sunday! That regularity keeps things interesting. I know for our household, our custodial roles increase quite a bit on the weekends we host. Every inch of our home is pretty much used:
Our formal living room is used for the worship service.
Our den is used for our toddlers.
ResLife Kids use our loft area upstairs.
Ava’s room becomes the room for nursing moms.
The boy’s bedroom is the nap room.
Our screened-in porch becomes the place where the children eat during our great potlucks.
Our kitchen becomes the focal point for the potlucks for the adults.
As cool as it is to have our house be used in this way, we are facing the reality that we need to find a more neutral place for more reasons than convenience.
What I’m noticing is that meeting in homes can be almost too intimate for people. There’s no neutrality to a home. As odd as it may sound, meeting in homes can still be an intimidating place for those inquiring about Christianity or those new again to the faith or Christians used to a more formal setting.
The second more practical reality is how things like parking impacts our neighbors. Because we are not a formal organization, meeting in homes to gather makes sense. We are essentially functioning as a small group. However, our house is not zoned as a church building, and in talking with a church architect about such matters, he presents a compelling case as to why it is wise for churches to have a facility to worship outside of a home.
The strategy, then, is two-fold. First, we want to take advantage of this small, intimate time. We have a desire to grow slowly and deeply. We want to be able to connect with all of our neighbors and networks who would not feel comfortable entering into the church establishment. Second, we get to start dreaming and scheming about a new place. We have our eyes and ears open for affordable housing. Just one came up this morning of a church community that left their building. Unfortunately, the Town of Cary bought it and will be building a fire station there. This seems to be a logical way forward for towns in the future: as more church buildings close their doors, it just makes sense for the town to gobble up that land and use it for their own services or to sell it to a develop. That way they are at least getting some use and/or money out of that property. Churches don't pay taxes.
This all being said, just because we are looking to worship outside of the home, our goal remains the same, namely, to use our homes to decentralize the church’s geographic place. We continue to focus on how the church is people, and where we live the church exists. Our homes, therefore, continue to be the ‘engine’ that drives new and ongoing relationships as well as strengthens relationships with each other and God. At the end of the day, He continues to lead and will direct our growing community in terms of location in His time and not in ours.
So, have you been impatient with God in your life when searching for direction/answers and how have you dealt with impatience in your life?