OK, it occurs to me that there is probably nobody reading this, or maybe a couple people that I don’t mind knowing more about what I’m about to say. The whole issue of our possible move to Greenville is something that I’m trying to keep close to the vest here in Louisville for different reasons, many of which are job related. But believe me it is at the forefront of our minds, prayers, and conversations.
The trip last weekend was good. We had a good time with Phil and Sandy Friday night at dinner and I spent some time again with Phil for a couple hours Tuesday morning before we left. (Phil is the pastor at Lifepoint Community Church). The church is still very very new, it is small, etc., which makes trying to figure out what its like and project what kind of church it will be very difficult. But, I do feel confident that working alongside of Phil would be a very positive experience. It seems that he and I are on the same page on some significant issues (e.g. the need to do shatter the stereotypical distinctions between clergy/laity, secular/sacred, etc., a heightened emphasis on the church as a spiritual community, an emphasis on being the church rather than programs and events, and emphasis on discipleship, etc.). These are the kinds of things that make me much more comfortable with Lifepoint.
One thing we talked about was the churchy culture of Greenville. There are certainly a lot of churches there, which leads many to question the point of starting another one. (Apparently, he met with more than a little discouragement and resistance even in talking with other established pastors. Not in every case, but in most). Yet the cultural Christianity that pervades much of Greenville casts a pretty dark shadows many times. Many people have a really bad idea of the church and the gospel, many have a “form of godliness” (e.g. they attend church, etc.) but have never really surrendered to the lordship of Christ. There are also many who have been burned by the church and have turned their back on it. (Incidentally, I think this would particularly be true of people under 30). In short, many churches are dead or stuck in a rut or whatnot.
In short, the opportunity is there for a church that cuts through all the baggage and simply lives authentically as God’s community and holds out the gospel for those who are hurting, searching, or not.
My impression is that the door is open. Since the whole thing would be bivocational anyway, we decided the best approach would be for Keri and I to first decide if, in fact, God is leading us to Greenville, and to then get situated there (jobs, house, etc.) for a while. We can then just take some time to be in the church to see if it is a good mutual fit. (The analogy I’ve used is dating before marriage rather than arranging the marriage ahead of time. There’s mutual interest, but you want to make sure).
So we’re looking around at possible job opportunities, houses, that kind of thing, trying to see what doors God may open. The idea has been thrown out there that I could look at getting into real estate. That’s intriguing – maybe I’ll write another post on that another time.
So that’s where things stand. It will probably happen, but we haven’t yet pulled the trigger for sure. It will be interesting to see.