Posts Tagged ‘The River Church’

Chided again by Danny’s subtle wit, I thought I’d finally post something.  For spite.

This summer I joined a church planting team sent from CFCF to plant a church in Waltham.  The River Church, now a little over a month old, is therefore my new church home.  Being part of a church planting team has been an exciting experience, for sure.  There is always a certain excitement that comes from beginning something new; building something from the ground-up.

Naturally, all of us on the core team understand that Christ is the one who builds His church (c.f., Mt.16:18), and we’re not starting something new so much as continuing in a faith already thousands of years old.  Still, there are the brick and mortar decisions: What does our corporate worship service look like?  What are small groups going to look like?  Where do we meet?  How do we reach out to the community? Etc.

The overwhelming emotion I’ve experienced throughout all of these decisions is one of humility.  It is easy to talk about what a corporate worship service should look like, (doubly-so in the accountability-free, anonymous cocoon of the internet), but very difficult to actually plan for a time of corporate worship.  There is always in our lives the tension of what ought to be and what is.  Our tidy monographs on the church (some of which I’ve written), often seem far less useful when we’re dealing with real people and real circumstances.

All this to say that my church planting experience thus far has reminded me of the charity with which we should discuss, philosophize and even criticize the church in America.  We tread this space often on BBG, hopefully with due humility.  I think said charity ought to wax even larger when discussing matters with which we are not intimately involved.  To use the worship example again, criticism of corporate worship practices are much more weighty if they come from people who are actually involved with a corporate worship team in some way.

This doesn’t mean that a non-participant has nothing meaningful to say.  A single pastor can provide sound marital counsel to a couple.  However, nothing beats real experience for seasoning this counsel with charity and grace.  This pattern has repeated itself throughout my life:  As I thought ahead to marriage, there were certain things I thought I’d never do; similar thoughts ran through my mind as I looked forward to the birth of my first child.  As much as my pre-marital, pre-parental self might have confessed that marriage or parenting are difficult things to do, it has taken my experience of them to really appreciate just how difficult.

The experience-induced slice of humble pie oughtn’t dull our ideals, however.  Indeed, when the rubber met the road, I was not the husband or parent I thought I’d be.  (My wife and I often laugh at our pre-parental discussions on child-rearing; all of which were held in the quiet of our living room as we anticipated a restful night of sleep.)  We can still strive towards our highest ideals.  Sometimes, though, life gets messy and we realize that we forgot to kiss our wife good-bye, sat our son in front of the TV so we could get 15 minutes of quiet, and haven’t posted to our blog in ages.  Here’s to trying our best again tomorrow.

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