When my pappy worked at the YM office, he made the acquaintance of a lovely and engaging person: Harold Behr. For a while he headed up our yearly meetingís New Words/church planting efforts. Harold has the amazing ability to both energize you while completely wearing you out – all by simply walking into a room. Dad never quite knew what direction Harold was heading off in ñ and then again, Harold might not have known himself: but Dad saw the fruits of his labor and blessed him to continue to ìdo his thingî as long as the Spirit would allow.
Haroldís back in the Northwest after spending some time in the southwest. Heís working with Medford Friends doing locally what he did at the yearly meeting level – very cool. Heís a strong proponent of simple chuch/house churches/non-traditional or non-institutional church. Heís got a great site – tons of resources and thoughts and just some great stuff.
As I explore the emerging church movement and how it meshes or meets with my current body of believers, itís easy to try and put patches on the way Iíve worshiped: to try and crank ìjust a few more miles!î out of it. Haroldís latest post challenges my natural tendency to cling to the defunct works that are in existence, calling people to ìrelease the simple churchî just as Christ released his disciples into the world:
Way too much of what is branded as simple church or the emergent church has become the clustering of church people who have dropped out or are misfits for one reason or another, gathered to nurse (“heal” is the normal term used) each others wounds, seemingly or at least presumed to be caused by some monster traditional church. I don’t know how you define these clusters but they certainly aren’t much like the simple church plantings Paul and the other disciples were engaged in.
Most SCs I am aware of, with a few exceptions, stay together beyond what is healthy for them. And there will never be a worldwide multiplication of simple churches again unless we teach and release setting the proper expectations as such from the beginning. Are you part of such a group? Remember Paul spent as little as 2-4 weeks with pagan peoples in preaching the gospel and gathering new believers together before he left. What are we doing that makes US think we need to continue and continue on to feed and nurse one anther’s psyches forever and ever. I am suggesting as an effective undershepherd we need to “kick them out” into the work of the ministry
Thanks for sharing these words, Harold: theyíre not always easy to hear, but they are much needed.