they come in all shapes and sizes! (in response to 'leaving church')
by Deborah Jenkinson
(Pomonal, Victoria, Australia)
This story begins with the title of a book given to me early in 2006 from Father after spending some time waiting to hear how we could be more of "Him" in the year ahead.
I was in part time (full time) paid ministry for the previous four years in a small church that was mostly over not being given in the past any real opportunity to explore or express their hopes, their gifts, or even their ideas. I came to them with a piece of paper that said I had a degree in Christian Counselling after studying for four years distance Ed in Adelaide's Tabor College. I came because I was asked by the elders of the church would I assist them in becoming a "Missional Church" in conjunction with setting up a counselling room as part of the church's outreach in to the local community,city and region. I came because I thought I could make a difference to a sincere group of Christians trying to be relevant to people in their midst. I was eager, enthusiastic, and as green as grass after a ton of super to the acre and an inch of rain. I'm married to a farmer!
After seven years of small increments of success coupled with large amounts of hurt all round, misunderstandings and failure I was forced to depart -"The New Thing" the Church thought they most wanted,turned out to be the same old thing of the past with a new sounding name. Religion takes a lot of shedding - the whole skin has to be gone! Sounds Biblical!
I'm now leading a House Church in the same region. Redemptive Gift Teaching from Arthur Burk has been invaluable in helping each one of us position ourselves on the earth as it is in Heaven. We now have ministry happening in the street, at the aged care facility,at the local Primary School -wherever Holy Spirit says this is what Father is up to today. We are still largely misunderstood by the local church leaders - that's ok! -we can live with that! -we are in good company!
God has established through us a prayer heart for His bride and now we pray with (not just for) the churches that don't quite get us.We have learnt to honour them and love them and do good to them.
Oh! By the way! The book is called "The Shape of Things to Come" by Michael Frost and Allan Hirsh