I am not part of a Central PA organic group; and I am new to this website. I am a lifelong Christian and have attended and actively participated in the same Presbyterian Church regularly for 12 years. I have been blessed with many meaningful friendships there, both with pastors and congregants. Somewhat recently, I have felt a calling to serve God's Kingdom in other ways in the community. I have also been aware that a couple of weekly small groups within my Church have been important for me as churches within the larger church. I am interested by what I have read in several books on emerging chruches, organic chruches etc. At this point, I am exploring if I can be a positive influence as a layperson within the Presbyterain Church to help my pastors and fellow congregants expand our opportunities and blur the lines between what happens on Sunday and during the week to make the "church experience" more meaningful for some in our congregation and wider community for whom "church" may be more about semi-monthly "fire insurance installments" than an exercise of a coming together of many body parts to share variosu gifts in joyous worship and service to His Kingdom. So, in the sense that I attend a church regularly which has 700 members and an average weekly worship attendance of 250 to 300, and that I have particapted weekly for 12 years in a Sunday Bible study with an evolving group of about 20, and a men's group of 5 to 10 guys every Friday AM for 4 years, I belong to church groups. However, I have not affiliated with a new and specifically organic group and probably won't look for that in the near future due to the difficulty of juggling my current schedule. My wife attends Sunday Bible study with me, then attends worship at a contemproary Methodist serivce, and plays with a Praise Band that plays at yet another Presbyterian Church monthly.
Sorry for that rambling answer. I hope it makes sense to you. Happy Easter to you. What's your interest in the simple church, or "First Cetnry" Christianity?
It's nice to 'meet' another simple church person close to our area. I'm in the Poconos. Kresgeville is near Brodheadsville, about half way between both Lehighton and Stroudsburg. We're not in the Easton area, but I grew up in Wind Gap, so I know the area a little bit.
I'm not on this site very often, but if you start a group I think it would be interesting to see how many people would be from this area. I've searched all the members and there don't seem to be too many from our area, let alone PA.
I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. Like I said before, I don't frequent this site often, usually I'm on facebook. So you're a realtor? You must see a lot of the area! How fun.
You were part of a house church a long time ago and then to traditional and back again to simple? Wow. I have a friend who also did that, simply because he couldn't find people who wanted to meet in small groups. I read a book by Kreider and McLung about house churches, it was pretty good. I grew up Lutheran My husband was in the army so we tried all different kinds of churches everywhere we went. When we moved here we became part of a cell church. My husband eventually felt 'called' to be a pastor (I laugh about it now, but am so glad God let us experience this journey). Two years ago our church split. It was not a friendly split and it was all due to (untrue) gossip. God started peeling the scales off of our eyes and we began to see how dependent the church was on the 2 remaining pastors (my husband and another). The other pastor started doing some reading on organic and house churches and was sharing a lot of what he was learning with the remainder of the church, which then met regularly in homes, we had previously met in a school cafeteria. After a few weeks most of the other people left too. We ended up as 4 families and a few singles meeting regularly, with no agenda, a couple times a week. In the mean time my husband and I also really began to start researching the idea of organic/simple church. The other pastor's family and ours kind of went through institutional church detox together over the last year and a half. We no longer have a 'church' that meets regularly. We just get together to hang out. It's been a very emotional journey over the last 2 years, and I've lost most of my 'Christian' friends and life has been very difficult since. But through it all, God has provided completely for every need and has taken care of so many details. I continue to be amazed at who He is, when we give control back over to Him. Right now I feel we're nearing the end of our detox, even though healing from the hurts will take some time yet, but we're not exactly sure where to go from here, but He's leading us moment by moment. God's been really cool about placing people with spiritual questions in our lives who are asking us for direction. That never happened until we were out of the IC! Right now our desire is to get to know more people in our neighborhood and just be a part of their lives. That's my story in a nutshell.
We've read most of Viola's books. We're still working on 'Eternity' and Reimagining Church. We read Pagan when we first started leaving the IC behind. I'd love to go back and read it again now that I'm out.
Perhaps we can get together sometime. We often get down to Wind Gap, Easton isn't that much further. We'd love to hear more of your story too.
Grace & Peace...... from the other side of the valley (Lehigh...that is). We've haven't really engaged on this site until we came back from the Orlando organic church conference (Frank, Milt, Alan). There we met other believers from PA (mostly from the Harrisburg area). We purposed to do our best to connect with others who share commonality IN Jesus and the directive to go "outside the camp" for survival. Hope we can meet up with you somehow to share our life stories.
In His FINISHED work!
Mike & Cheryl
You have a beautiful family..... the pictures are great! We have one at home, our son Micah, and our daughter Rebekah, with her husband...you guessed it..Isaac (we're not kidding) in Denver, CO, with their two children Jackson and Madelyn. They are trying their best to move from Denver to the Lehigh Valley but their house sale won't satisfy their mortgage. We didn't get to personally talk to Frank because most of our time was enjoying the fellowship with like- minded believers from 24 other states and a number of other countries. Frank was his 'passionate ' self yet drenched in humility. Almost everything he has ever written we have read. This was the first gathering that we ever attended that no one asked us "what church do you attend"? We couldn't use our favorite answer..."we are the Church...how do we attend ourselves". There were more men than women at this conference (Cheryl pointed this out). And not once did anyone talk about money or pass an offering plate. The four men (Frank, Milt, Alan, Gary), and their wives, sat among the people themselves and encouraged, edified, and simply loved on everyone. This unusual event is going to take some time to digest.
Mike & Cheryl
Interesting that you mentioned short sale. My daughter and her husband bought a brand new house in Commerce City (Denver) several years ago. Two children later they need much more family support. The support is here in the Valley. Big mistake was that they financed 100%. The housing market tanked big time in Denver. They went through 2 separate multilist attempts with no success of breaking even. They are now considering using a short sale specialist named "Ideal Homes" to manage the short sale. Have any comments as a person who is on the inside?
Mike & Cheryl
Hi again Tim,
We've been wandering in the wilderness for nearly 7 years - spending restless periods of up to 1.5 yrs. at a variety of churches in the Lehigh Valley. It's awful. I am weary of it and if it weren't for Benjamin, I may have totally given up the search. I really want him to grow up around people who can be part of his life - for life. That may be a ridiculous hope. If I'm not imagining things, I seem to be finding more & more Christians with similar observations about church and the unfulfilled longing for "less shallow," more meaningful relationships/ opportunities for service, that church seems unable to provide. Maybe we just haven't found the right place yet. I think our expectations are too high. Plus we seem to be in a very strange place theologically - Christian hybrids - Charismatic & reformed - not a very common breed.
How did everything go at the gathering in NJ? Please, please, keep us in the loop. We feel a bit isolated here on the other side of the Valley. It has been very difficult in these days connecting with any believer outside the institutional church. We know there's got to be thousands in our locale. Something's got to give!
In His Finished Work,
Mike & Cheryl
The meeting in Watchung was AWESOME! It was not far into Jersey about 45 min from Easton.
We met at the Barn, I was expecting something rough and cold but it was anything but that. It had a high vaulted ceiling with cabinet quality beams which gave it a nice look but certainly not a barn, hardwood floors a stone wall with a gas fireplace and a gorgeous kitchen with cherry cabinets and granite counters, very spacious place and just a great place to gather together. People came from Conneticut, South Jersey, New York, Phila, and PA. I didn't count but it was a nice group maybe 50-60. We ate pizzas and salad which gave everyone plenty time to meet and greet, A young man I was eating with asked me , hey when does the meeting start?
I said ,OH it's about 1/2 over I think.
We did enjoy a time of praise with some guitars and various congos being played, some danced , some cried, some laughed, some prayer, some prophecy, some revelations, a few scriptures, and a lot of love. It was a genuine free flow that the Holy Spirit led. Amazing and beautiful when some hungry believers get together with the agenda being to just worship Jesus. A bucket was put on the floor for Pizza donations, but in the end the brethren who paid for the pizza did not want the money, so the money was given to a needy family in that area that someone knew about something like 180.00. We stayed until about 10pm I think.
I think the reaffirmation that comes along from this is good and encouraging for those of us who have been wondering if anything is going to develop in this simple church thing. If nothing else you see a living demonstration of 1 cor.14:26 type gathering which can and will spark people to be doing this back home or wherever.
No comments yet!
You need to be a member of SimpleChurch to add comments!