We didn’t know whether to chuckle or shed a tear.

The president of a “ministerial fellowship” had just explained the group’s rasion d’être: “The fellowship is here to make us more effective and enhance ministry in our community.”  Then he explained his view of what that looks like, “That’s why this fellowship is for pastors.”  As in, “pastors only.”

 

Do we still not get it?

 

This guy was neck-deep in a room full of capable, gifted believers passionate about ministry and reaching and teaching for Christ.  But the only people he saw were the “paid professionals.”

 

Is this “ministry” Jesus’ way?

This past week we chose to have church on Saturday morning.  That’s right.  Saturday morning.  It’s what worked best for everyone.

Used to the “Sunday-meeting-go-church, put-my-happy-face-on” routine, one guy piped up with, “Can we do that?”

Oh yes.  And a whole lot more.  🙂

“Organic” church? “Simple” church?   That sounds weird.

Actually, “simple” church isn’t that “weird.”  It’s not even new.  It’s “lowering the bar on how we ‘do church’ and raising the bar on what it means to be a disciple.”  It’s as old as the first century and the New Testament.   In fact, “simple” church is so  ancient, it’s future.

Check out “Some of Our Friends Think We’re Crazy.”


Times are changing.

More and more people are crying out for authentic encounters with God and communities of friends.  Many long to experience church in a fresh, simple way.  They long for something more–organic.

More and more Christians are saying:

“I love the Lord Jesus.  I love his Word.  But I just can’t keep ‘doing church’ the way I have been.  Can you help?”

That’s what “simple church” church is about.

“Simple” or “organic” church is an old concept.  In fact, it’s so old, it’s new.  It’s New Testament ancient –  yet as  future as next year’s news.  An “organic” church is made up of living things and is very much alive.  Everyone participates.  Everyone contributes.  Organic church begins where the lost are, bringing church to people rather than bringing people to the church.

As an “organic” or “simple” church, The Sheepfold isn’t about a building or paid staff.  We’re about relationships: with God, the family of God, and those who do not yet know God.  We gather around the Scriptures to study, learn, grow, and serve one another and Christ without church buildings, professional clergy, denominations or formalized Sunday worship programs.

We see church not as a place to “go” or something we “do,” but as who we are.


Sun-swathed and sapphire, Sunday poured out balmy breezes and a flawless curve of blue sky.   Sprays of purple, blue, crimson and pink Rhododendrons lit up fences and yards like neon signs.  Rivers and waterfalls speared slashes of glittering sun and toss them ashore willy-nilly.   Tickling the thermometer at seventy degrees, the day sashayed in with an “all is well with the world” promenade.

Here on the soggy rim of the Olympic Peninsula, a beautiful, sunny day like this is one to grab while the grabbin’s good.

After brunch  we nabbed Bibles, camp chairs, water and sun screen (!) and dashed up to one of the beautiful bluffs overlooking the harbor.  We spent half an hour or so gratefully looking at and listening to signs of Spring – twittering song birds, sun-scrubbed skies, budding tulips and daffodils.  Our worship time focused on God’s awesome creation, creativity and grace.

There’s something to be said for singing and sharing communion under a canopy of blue sky and soaring cedar trees!

Like a river glorious

Is God’s perfect peace,

Over all victorious

In its bright increase;

Perfect, yet it floweth

Fuller ev’ry day,

Perfect, yet it groweth

Deeper all the way…

– Frances R. Havergal

Is the Christian life boring?  Dull?  Like watching paint peel?  Blah?

Are you kidding?

Following Jesus is anything but ‘tame’ or ‘predictable.’  It’s like what Mr. Beaver tells the Pevensie children about Aslan, the great lion of Narnia, when asked if Aslan is ‘safe’:

“’Course he’s not safe.  But he’s good.”

Following the Lord Jesus Christ is an adventure, a life journey filled with risk, reward, beauty,  surprise and delight.  If we let Him,  Jesus leaves no part of our lives untouched.  No part of our hearts untransformed.  He is the foundation upon which everything else rests.


Jesus came to set us free.  Free to live a fully human life.  Free to love.  Free to forgive.  Free to be healthy emotionally, mentally, physically, relationally, and spiritually.

Jesus came to reconcile us to God and one another, breaking down the walls that divide.    As his followers, it’s our calling to continue his ministry of reconciliation.

Following Jesus means serving others.  We aren’t saved by our good works; we’re saved for good works.

Church happens whenever and wherever two or three are gathered in his name.

The Bible is the story of God’s interaction with humanity.  It is the “living word,” through which God continues to speak truth to us.  God Himself longs for us, wants to draw close to us, if we are but willing…

***

John 14:6, Romans 12:1-2, John 8:32, 36; John 15:1-17; Ephesians 2:4-10; II Corinthians 2:15-21, II Timothy 3:16, 17.