This month I began an interim appointment at a local UMC. I am ¾ time so I can still do House Church trainings. Several people have asked me why I am doing this. Actually, a couple things moved me in this direction.
First, while the House Church Network is my passion, it does not pay a salary. I have recognized that I need to be bi-vocational and since my skill set is pastoring local churches this is one way for me to work in a field I know while I make a salary. Starbucks or Target may be on my horizon, but for now, a part time job at a local church works.
Related to this is I do still love the local church. While I am pursuing other forms of ministry, it is not because I no longer believe in or support the local church. I support both old-school churches and fresh expressions of church and love to be supportive and helpful to my colleagues.
My larger goal is to find at least some income through teaching discipleship at local churches, coaching leaders, speaking, writing, coaching churches and coaching others who want to set up house churches. I don’t know how reasonable this will be.
Second, I have learned several things during the last six months that I wanted to try out in the local church, namely the ‘Discipleship Huddle.’ One of the big reasons I was interested in coming back to the local church was I wanted to see what impact a real focus on discipleship might have on an established church. I probably will only get a small sense of this in six months but I think it will be helpful in me developing a 8 week class I can take to local UMC to strengthen them.
Third, I wanted to take my learning from my last appointment to a new experience. While a do-over is not available in this life, one of the things I wondered was what would happen if one went into a new church and right off the bat began a new worship gathering. So tonight is our first (of 3 or 4) Pop-Up worships, a Friday night experience. This isn’t an additional time for what we do Sunday but something different (no sermon, videos, doing it at night gives a whole different feeling, prayer stations, different style of music). I will know more after tonight…
The big issues with all this are, of course, time. I am training 5 teams to start house churches plus I will be working with UMC campus ministries to set up house churches at local colleges. I am also coaching two churches. So, this is a bit crazy. But so far, so good!