There’s an interesting development connected to our recent move to Denver, one that’s a bit of an anomaly to me, and one that I haven’t brought up here thus far–mostly because I wasn’t sure how to explain it. But here goes…
I’m leading worship on Sunday mornings. In an institutional church.
Considering the many criticisms I’ve made of institutional church structures on this blog…perhaps I should unpack that last statement. 🙂
My opinions haven’t changed, but if you’ve been following along, you’ll realize that most of my critiques of institutional forms of Christianity are pragmatic, not personal. I just see so many instances where it doesn’t work well, where people are hurt, where the stakes are too high, etc. I don’t have time to go into it all here, but read past posts if you don’t understand.
That said…in brainstorming with friends and family about what sorts of things I ought to be doing in Denver, I have come to realize three things:
- How a church is structured doesn’t change the fact that the people involved are the body of Christ–my brethren–and I want to help and encourage them whenever possible.
- Worship leading is still a skill set I possess, and if I can use it to help and encourage other believers, I ought to do so when possible.
- I do not want to be guilty again of boxing God in as far as opportunities He might give me. (And make no mistake–we can box God in just as much outside the institutions as inside them. Anything can be religious, including non-institutionality.)
So while we are in this in-between stage, I determined that if God wanted to give me such and opportunity, I would help out somewhere–provided, of course, that the leadership still wanted me around if they ever Googled me and read my blog. 🙂
All this to say…one of the two connections that God sort of used to summon us to Denver is my old college friend Mike, whose book I reviewed here. I’ve been up front with Mike about my journey from the beginning. It turns out that he and another guy named Eugene are doing a church plant in the area, and when I asked him if he knew of any church who might need a little help, he suggested his. I met with his co-pastor, and we three kept up conversations through the summer, and came to a consensus that–at least for a season–we should walk together. So I’m the “interim worship leader” there, a very small time commitment, just helping out. And Mike and Eugene have expressed an interest in returning the favor when it comes time for us to pursue the dream in our hearts.
I’d be lying if I said I was completely comfortable doing this again. And I’d be suprised if Mike and Eugene are completely comfortable with it–I think I’ve already thrown them a couple of curve balls. However, there is a relationship behind this that extends beyond the jobs we do for the church, and it seems there is something God wants to do in all of us involved through this connection. Mike and Eugene are from such different backgrounds that it is a bit of an anomaly in itself that they are collaborating. And I think it speaks well of Mike and Eugene (who have read my blog) to bring me into the mix without pressing me to compromise my convictions.
It is a diverse blend, to say the least. 🙂
So I’m doing it.
We’ll see how things go, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say as we go along.