My Comfy Peace that, “God’s GOT This!”

God's been opening doors all over the place since we committed to this God-size dream He gave us.

valley testlogo blackI mean, we shouldn't be surprised right? If he ask us to do something He's not gonna sit back and laugh at us while we fumble around making fools of ourselves while trying to accomplish it. Heck no. God's already got a crazy detailed manuscript He's directing and we are just blessed to be asked to have an extra part in a tiny scene of this movie we call eternity.

Way back in November 2011, when my husband shared with me that he was sure God was calling him to be a pastor {and if you know me and my hubs, this would be a shock to all of you as well}. Not only was he supposed to be a 'grown-up pastor' now but he was being asked to PLANT a Church.

WHAT?!?! Aren't there enough churches? Everyone is leaving the ones that exist. How are we supposed to do any better than what's already out there? We know NOTHING about running a church.

These were the questions that I later learned were flying through my husband's head when he began sorting this God-sized dream out. He joked about some of these things but it never seemed to be a dampener on what God was gonna let us do. I'm slightly childish in this way. When God ask me to do something, I'm sure its Him, I just do it. Some may call that extreme faith but I think its just how He made me...kinda like being short ;o)

If I give myself lots of time to think about something, that's when the questions come. Not the, "don't you know I can't do this God"s but the "well, what can I do to move this along" questions. This life of limbo is either one of two things; God teaching us {lots of} something(s) OR satan trying to mess with my head and get me to jack things up by trying to do it on my own during the waiting. Daily I remind my self of the spiritual battle going on and wiggle down into my comfy peace that, "God's got this!" Some days that works and other day I'm a panicky mess, don't ask my hubs, he'll give ya the horror stories. hehe

Any how, about all these doors God is opening since saying Yes to this adventure:

  • a woman, we had never met before, who is committed {and I mean Committed!} to give us 1/3 of her already meager income
  • a partner church who is interested in helping plant autonomous churches
  • 100 folding chairs
  • friends who have a heart for church plants
  • friends who have a heart for the community we are going to minister
  • random jobs {never saw ourselves working} to offset our income
  • a radio interview {that came out of the blue} where I was able to share part of our story, as well as educate listeners on church planting and the de-churched
  • can lights, a projector and a screen Fo Free!
  • a couple churches who have committed to praying for us and/or financially supporting us
  • and tons of other things I've forgotten to mention

SEE UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM!

Things we are faithing God has in the works:

  • a space for The Valley to meet in weekly {praying for "The General", an old Dollar General in a store front}
  • people who will commit to being part of the leadership: ie. Financial Advisor, Worship Team, Administrator
    {UPDATE: we've had vocalist, drummer, and other musicans come talk with us recently!}
  • A passionate move of God like no other ever seen in Vilonia, AR where those who know Jesus catch fire and Salvation spreads across that community so ramped that no one can deny GOD is at work!

I haven't talked a whole lot about the logistics of what we're doing on here...mainly 'cause I don't know if you'll care Or what you really wanna know, already know, or could care less to know. Blow up the comment section or message me. I'd love to share more. If there is a lot of interest I'll even do an entire Q & A post for ya.

Speaking of which; Matt and I will be doing a question and answer session a One Church {Conway} on the evening of January 27th. If your interested in more info about this then ask away!

I've also provided a link to the interview I mentioned above if you'd like to hear it. It's an hour long program but you can skip ~15 minutes in to where my interview starts and of course fast-forward through the commercial breaks. My part of the interview is really only about 20 minutes.

Chasing After the De-Churched a radio interview with Vivienne McNeny

Download HERE to Listen

UPDATE:

I wrote this last week and when it went live this morning my husband was in the process of picking up an old screen someone had donated only to find out that they were searching for more equipment items to bless us with. Thank you so much Mark Cox & Indian Springs BC for being Jesus through extravagant generosity! And the Fagan family for letting us borrow your ginormous covered trailer to hall it all in. AND to Pappa Dean for helping us pick it up {and for storing it until we get a space of our own!

God is so randomly Good. Just when we think we understand Him... waBam!

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And, if any of your readers out there in cyberspace happen to be in the Conway/Vilonia area:

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What Does it Feel Like to be the DeChurched?

I think for some, not all, of the DeChurched, THIS is how they feel. They don't quite fit in to what the church is telling us we have to do. How they must look. They just can't seem to physically adjust the way God's made them to perform the way the church has told them they must. So. They quit.

I'd just want to add that God did not set this mandate for how many churches try to train it's members to perform. Yes, God did give us guidelines to follow for our safety, protection, and inevitably to show us how much we need Him and the salvation he offers. But the fence before the fence before the sin was put up by the Pharisees. The ones that think they actually can make it on their own. They've created man-made traditions to adhere to in hopes to seem more righteous before men but are lost and separated from their savior thinking they don't need saving.

Lets rethink first position that's is hard to maneuver and the plié that makes the newbie fall on their tush while the experts giggle amongst themselves. Let's instead stretch out the hand of love and teach each other to walk the straight and narrow path with as little fancy pants dancing down the path as possible.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-7, The Message)

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Are You the DeChurched?

In the 80s the term "unchurched" was coined. This word was used an inevitably replaced non-christian. Satan has a clever way of using just a simple word change to seem more politically correct and palatable to hinder the work of Christ.

You may not think this word change sounds so bad but it essentially changed the game plan. We, as Christ-followers, used to "spread the gospel" in the beginning of The Church. Then some how this moved to a more self-righteous movement where we're doing crazy things like pilgrims trying to "convert" the Indians. Along with that came the "right way" to dress, behave, interact, and basically live. That moved to the phrase "evangelizing non-Christians" which then became "reaching the unchurched". Yep. That's exactly what it sounds like. To quote an article for Christianity Today entitled Who are the De-Churched,

The church was no longer just a means by which Christ’s mission would advance in the world, it was also the end of that mission. The goal wasn’t simply to introduce the unchurched to Christ, but—as the term reveals—to engage them in a relationship with the institutional church. This paved the way for the ubiquitous (but flawed) belief today that “mission” is synonymous with “church growth.”

Church-goers are now trying to grow their club rather than simply love on people and be prepared to share the reason for the hope they have.

In that same article they've broken the de-churched into these 3 generalized groups:

1. The Relationally De-Churched: those who abandon the institutional church because they desire authenticity.

2. The Missionally De-Churched: those who leave because they are die-hard activists.

3. The Transformationally De-Churched: those who left because people in the church have the tendency to be small and mean and couldn’t deal honestly with their own sins or the sin of others.

Where do you fit in today?

  • Are you apart of the club? Have you made it through rush and now you know the ins and outs of how things are to be run?
  • Have you gone to the club week-in and week-out not really knowing why you do certain things but enjoying having something to do or a group to call your own?
  • Are you begrudgingly attending a club but long for something more and just don't know what that is? Do something about it! Be the change you're looking for. Love. Love right where your are!
  • Are you one of the de-churched for one of the reasons listed above? There are tons like you! Ones who want to make a difference. Ones who are tired of the once meaningful traditions. Those ready to engage in the culture now.
  • Are you a person wandering this earth waiting to find out why we're all here? You've never stepped foot inside a church building and have never been given a good reason to do so. No one's told you about the God who created you and loves you and longs to be reunited with His child. You've possibly lived in the US all your life, and people assume everyone in this "Christian Country" knows all the stories of the Bible, but you along with tons of others have no idea what they're talking about in literature class.

We're coming! I promise! There are Christ-followers who are on their way. They want to share life with you. Love on you right where you are! We want to share Christ; not bottle Him up for ourselves and those we deem worthy. We Are Coming for You!

Learn more in these posts: Who are the DeChurched? AND Why are they leaving and NOT coming back?

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Where are you ‘chasing’ the DeChurched?

I told you a little yesterday about who some of the DeChurched are. I also mentioned that they, along with the UnChurched, are the target group of The Valley church we are planting in Vilonia.
Today I want to share this video of Matt Chandler, the lead teaching pastor at the 'mega church', The Village in Dallas, TX. I hope this explains yet another sect of the UnChurched population in America.

Many of you may be wondering where exactly we plan to "chase" this generation of Christ followers who happen to not regularly attend a Sunday service somewhere. You may be disappointed but our goal is not to chase them back into a building to take part in a boring weekend hobby. Our plan is to chase them back to the heart of Jesus.

  • For some that means introducing them to the real Jesus of the bible as opposed to what some churches have portrayed Him as, a tradition or moral to uphold
  • For others that may mean we provide them with a freeing space to worship together with the the family they have in Christ.
  • For yet others, it may mean showing them God's heart for serving and sharing this amazing love story as it unfolds all around them.

We want to be the arms of Jesus reaching out to a group that needs solid biblical teaching, strong fellowship among other Christ-followers, an example of authentic gospel driven lifestyle to mimic. Ultimately, this model will mobilizes this generation to reach the world for the name of Jesus like we're called and long to do.

We will not be a building. We will not be a location. We will not be a service. We will not be an organization.

We will become the body of Christ in order to bring honor to His name and accomplish His will.

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Who are the dechurched?

Most of you know that my husband and I have been "called" to go plant a church. What many of you may not know is why. There were many factors but the one that's growing the most meaningful to me is this:

We are going to chase down the
unchurched and dechurched in our generation!

Vilonia is a "bedroom" town {people commute all week to jobs and only sleep in their homes} made up of mainly 25-35 year old's with an average of young 2 children. That's US. I am 28 and Matt just turned 35. We have 3 kids...but they all came in 2.5 kids so they're kinda like just 2... hehe

This is my generation! Generation Y. The Millennial Generation. Echo Boomers. The children of baby boomers or Gen Xers. Marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies.

I've always wanted to be that generation. The generation that seeks! That seeks His face. Oh, God of Jacob!

Sadly, when I moved into youth ministry with my husband I had all but kissed my hopes of being in that kind of generation goodbye. I'd moved on to the hopes of helping the next generations. I mean really! Ton's of people in generation Y won't even try church because they've been burnt by someone claiming they are apart of "the church" when really they have no idea it's not really just a boring weekend hobby. These are the unchurched. Lost. Completely unaware of Christ. Nope, they don't know the stories.

My people are, if in fact they've ever been apart of a church are leaving church in droves. No, we're not just leaving. We're running from church. We are no longer coming back to church either. Not like our parents and possibly grandparents did after their phase of college-age life. Ya know, coming to their senses when they settled down and had some "kids that needed to be in church." These are the dechurched.

Today I want you to know a little more about my generation from the well-know, much cooler than I, Jessica Bowman of Bohemian Bowman's, Parenting Wild Things, as well as the Finding Church Community Project set to release Fall of 2012.

~~~

Who are the dechurched, the truest cynics?

 

We are her children - we are the churched.

 

We've been there, done that, and gotten the VBS t-shirt. We are the burned, the spurned. We are not scholars, but know when things don't add up. We know the words of Jesus, you made us memorize them for stickers and trinkets - so we know when they're being stomped, ignored - twisted.

 

When you attack our appearance, put your man-made traditions before souls, squander resources on self-preservation, exclude - we see it. We pick it up off the holy ground where you dropped it and load it in our guns like ammunition.

 

We don't bother listening to you because you don't have anything new to say. We tune out your Charlie Brown teacher droning - mwamwa, republican, mwamwa abortion, mwamwa, pro-war, mwamwa, gay-hater, mwa mwa mwa.

 

Until you speak grace, we will despise you. Until you speak love, we will only hear a clanging gong. Until you speak truth, we will run from your institutions.

 

We may be wrong, but we know you're not right. And that's enough to fuel the fires of our disgust and disinterest. Indefinitely.

 

~~~

 

Learn more about Jessica's journey of Leaving the Church as well as her resent Returning to Church.

Continue reading here about another sect of the DeChurched, where we plan to chase them. and where you lie in the DeChurched perspective.

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