Great news, we found one!
Interestingly enough, it has landed us smack dab in the heart of our own home. For the past 8 weeks we have been churching it here on our couches and chairs and around our kitchen table.
Cray, right? Don't I know it! It happened within a couple weeks of my original post.
No, we have not resorted to cult tactics to train others to look at the church like we do (although I am fearful others may think we have), rather we have found our tribe! A group of people who were genuinely feeling the same way we were. People who were frustrated by churches with upside down priorities and watered down Gospel messages to attract membership. This tribe of ours desires Jesus, genuine community, and the opportunity for Kingdom impact. We even have a couple of friends who join us that don't believe in God. They come because they like hanging out with us and we love that, because we really like hanging with them too.
We are worshipping, learning, and relearning together (thanks to our church in California, the Desert Vineyard, having a live feed), we are eating (a lot), and we are finding the community we've been seeking (within our families and our neighborhoods).
When I mention eating a lot. I'm not even joking. We have pastries and fruit at the beginning of the actual service and then afterward we have Communion like I have never had it before! Not with flattened bread and juice (although we have done that too) but with lasagna, enchiladas, sandwiches, pizza, and chili. I realize this is by no means a traditional Communion, and I am not trying to downplay the significance of the ceremonial wafer and plastic cup, but these meals we are sharing are some of the most spiritual-filling Communions I have ever partaken. Every time. Every. Single. Time. I am reminded of the sacrifice of Christ and I remember what He did for me, this unlikely group gathered around our house, and those outside its doors. We remember Him. It is sweet and I am grateful.
Conversations go on for hours; we've even watched the noonday sun disappear behind the horizon on several occasions. Laughter fills the rooms, as do screaming and shrieking kids. This gathering of ours is not for the timid or the easily annoyed, but if you can steel yourself to the fact that after service kids run laps through rooms and a pot-bellied pig might eat the crumbs that fall on the ground by your feet, you will be blessed--it is precious. Burdens are carried together, and we hang out during the week encouraging and helping one another. We even started Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University this week, can you even get anymore church-like than that?
We don't know what's next for our living room church. We don't know if it will grow or if it will even last. There are things we need to figure out if it does, like how to make singing in front of the television feel like a spiritual experience in a sun-filled living room instead of an awkward daylight group karaoke sing-a-long. We need to tighten up the "children's ministry" because kids just want to play in the yard instead of listening to older kids read Bible stories or do crafts. Despite the lack of structured lessons, our young ones are experiencing a new depth to relationships they have never had in a church setting. Right now we take it one step at a time; trying really hard to love each other well, trying even harder to love God with all that we are, hoping that in this process of finding and becoming the church we show others love in a big way while discovering who he created us to be.
Wanna join us? Push the pig out of the way and grab a chair, there's always room at the table.