I don’t talk about actual church stuff on here much but I’ve had some ideas and thoughts floating around so I thought I’d share them and see if others have anything to say. I absolutely love my church back home, there isn’t anything particularly different about it from the other thousands of churches, except that the people are authentic, and for me that’s a huge deal. It is not an emergent church nor is it very traditional either. They are trying some cool new post-modern ideas like having artists in the sanctuary during the worship time, and they put a big emphasis on worship being a lifestyle not just the first 45 min of a weekend service. Some people would complain that we don’t “preach” directly from the Bible. But I’d argue the sermons are because the Holy Spirit is still working in people (imagine that), and everything that I’ve ever heard in this church doesn’t conflict with the Bible, the church enhances it and makes it relevant to today’s culture.
One of the reasons I am so excited to return to Seattle is that many of the ideas that have been swarming in my head will finally be allowed out and become tangible works. Alexis has an internship right now for the young adults group and I am so stoked and ready to get plugged in I’m nearly ready to jet myself over there. If “the church” is to survive, I realize that we have some things to change and some ideas to get rid of. I would say one of my biggest passions is seeing brothers and sisters of Christ working together, helping each other, and showing the world our love for each other. I don’t see a lot of this these days, even in my local fellowship. I can’t seem to get away from the fact that the early church had fellowship nearly everyday! Can you imagine how life would be if we did that today? That gets me pumped!
Now, when it comes to church planting, the idea we have in the States works for the States. America is a much different place than Europe or any other part of the world. We simply think differently and the kind of churches we have (as long as they are sensitive to the Spirit) work great in the States. However, I think we need to focus on local cultures. Many American Christians haven’t got a clue what the emergent church is, I think that’s okay, America isn’t in the same place as the rest of the world. Generally speaking we are still trustworthy of institutional churches and things like that, we’d better stay in tune with the people though if we are to change and not fall behind. There are pockets that are beginning to resist, one of these places I believe is Seattle, which is somewhere near the top (last I heard it was number two in the nation) for non-church going people of any faith. While my local church seems to be growing (no official membership but around 1200) despite this statistic I hope that it continues to be sensitive and alive.
If Americans go outside of the American culture, then they (including myself) need to realize that we have a much different mentality and we must assimilate into the culture we go to. My prayer for the church here in Poland is that it is distinctly Polish, meeting the needs of the Polish people and culture. Church attendance (and I believe the only attendance they track is in the Catholic church) is dropping across Poland and trust in the church has dropped 40% since the fall of communism. Life here is changing, the people are changing, but the church isn’t, none of the denominations. I’m sure there are pockets of Christians doing wonderful work, and I’m sure their fruit will multiply but we Americans need to drop our ways and try new things, wild and crazy things. The work I’m doing and help here is different, but it still has American roots, we are trying to make it uniquely Polish and centered on the Kingdom culture. Our goal is to have Polish leaders and pastors the ground is hard and the state church (the Catholic church) is very strong and has a lot of political and cultural connections which will do anything to slander a non-catholic church or fellowship (sometimes including the Charismat Catholic movement). However there are some amazing people in the Catholic church who are on-fire for God and are trying to change the church from the inside, keep these people in your prayers. We can all work together if we try.