New Beginnings

08Jan08

Yes, I really do blog.  Life has been overfull of late (as evidenced by the mound of dirty dishes on the counter…. umm, maybe they’ll get washed tomorrow).  I really like keeping a clean and organized house, but with small children I find it increasingly difficult, if not approaching impossible!  So needless to say I haven’t had much time for writing and planning, but I have been thinking.

Here we are at the beginning of 2008 and, I must admit, I’m very excited.  I anticipate that 2008 will be a year of new beginnings, hope, and change.  Chief of those for me is the dream of a new community of faith birthing in Cincinnati.  So how do we get there?  What are the first steps?  How does this all work with the rest of a full life?  What is the “time-table”?  Good questions.  I certainly don’t pretend to think these sorts of things “just happen”.  I’m reminded of Dallas Willard’s helpful little acronym V.I.M. from Renovation of the Heart (link to article about VIM).  Applied to church planting it looks like this:  What is the Vision of life in the Kingdom for this neighborhood?  What do we Intend to do in birthing this new community of faith?  What are our Means by which to accomplish our intended church plant?

Honestly, I feel like I’ve been held up in my articulation of these things for a deeper reason.  True, life has been full these last few weeks of holidays, small children, and a lingering cold that fills my head with too much mucus – but I think I’ve been stymied by an unseen specter of “You’ve got to get this just right”.  I’m going to do my best to ignore those voices in my head and just try to tell it as I see it….

The Vision of life in the Kingdom for this neighborhood is one that lives within the heart of an actual community of faith.  A small community of 150 folks or so that intentionally follow Jesus together.  The Kingdom of God – or to borrow Greg Boyd’s phrase, “the dome in which God is King” – is evident in this community of faith as a sign pointing the way and illuminating Emmanuel, “Christ with us”.  It is evident as this community works together and with others to bring the Kingdom  – God’s extravagant Grace and Reconciling Love – to bear in our homes, streets, schools, and workplaces.  It is evident as this community lives its life together in the Way of Christ, loving the least, the last, and the lost.  Kingdom life is a life lived in accord with one another and with the Triune God.  Simply put, we envision a community of faith living a Kingdom-life together.  And just to be clear (because I don’t want “Kingdom” to sound jargon-y), “Kingdom” means that “dome in which God is king”, in that “dome” is a life of deep grace, true love, and real peace.  But, it is not a Utopian, pie-in-the-sky life, but a life lived in concert with the Creator and Sustainer.  Kingdom-life takes suffering seriously, believes that healing is real, and works towards reconciliation with God, humanity, and creation.

We Intend to birth a new community of faith in Cincinnati.  This community of faith would a People of God on God’s Kingdom Mission in our neighborhoods, homes, schools, and workplaces.  We would be a Jesus-centered community.  We would be a real community – in that we would intentionally live our lives together (not just see each other once a week at a religious gathering).  We would “do life together” – in our neighborhoods, in mentoring relationships, in small groups/house churches, and in larger corporate gatherings and projects.  We would be around 150 people who would meet together weekly to worship together.  We would meet throughout the week in one another’s homes, coffeeshops, bars, and chili parlors.  We would live within proximity of one another and share food and resources (and childcare).  [There are questions here, I’m sure…. how is this different than Vineyard Central?  And what is our current/future relationship with VC?  Why 150?  What happens if we get to 151?  Would we pay staff/pastor/leaders?  Would we buy a building, own property, rent/lease/borrow space to worship?  Who let the dogs out? I’m not going to address these questions here, but they are all things I’ve spent time considering.  Leave a comment or send an email and I’ll address the ones that you are curious about or ask me other questions]

The Means by which we accomplish this intended church plant are as followed (based on current standings):
1.  Pray (something I want to get better at doing)
2.  Write out Vision, Mission, Values, and relevant Issues pertaining to church planting (so as to facilitate being on the same page!) and complete New Church Plan for RCA
3.  Propose intention to our House Church
4.  Enter a month of sabbatical and prayer as a House Church to discern next steps
5.  Form a planting team of folks committed to seeing the new community birthed
6.  Initiate an advisory board of wise folks to help us navigate the waves and decisions of the first year

Well, that’s all I got right now.  Sarah just got home and I want to post this and email it some folks (I suspect my readership is way down).  Peace.

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One Response to “New Beginnings”

  1. Aaron, thanks for putting this out there. I enjoyed reading it and was impressed that this act of writing itself is a part of establishing the vision component. Plow on.


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