2013 was like the summer I trained to be a life guard—when I had to tread water holding bricks above my head. There just wasn’t much easy.
Moving to our new town in North Carolina, navigating a new, demanding job, keeping up with four home schooled children and then one on the way. We treaded a lot of water with bricks over our heads.And we missed our Simple Church network there in Lexington something awful.
We started with Simple Church from its inception. We grew—we prayed—we changed–we learned to be the church, not just go to church—we experienced God work around us in remarkable ways, and then a new job pursuit came, and we accepted. You all, Simple Church, sent us so well. With all kinds of prayers and support that lasted this whole, long year.
We spent a lot of time in early 2013 praying, watching, and reaching out to our new neighbors. We made a fair amount of connections with other believers possibly interested in Simple Church and learned that there was/is not a house church movement here currently. We worshipped in our home sometimes alone, sometimes with others, and we visited a few traditional churches. There seemed to be times of real promise, but more times of disappointment and closed doors—on top of the very real demands of an already trying adjustment.
By the end of the spring, we were tired spiritually, needing more consistent fellowship, and our children seemed to long for more friendships. We began to consistently attend a traditional church where several families attended that had already reached out to us. It wasn’t (still isn’t sometimes!) easy to be in that setting, but we sense God’s care for us. His loving grace to keep and sustain our marriage and family. We have experienced His desire to keep us whole and well over our usefulness to Him.
We continue to pray and keep our eyes open for opportunities to begin a multiplication movement here, but also continue to learn the importance of living out the Great Commission no matter the setting. We have many opportunities to share our church experience with believers and not-yet-believers, and we recognize the ability to meet and make disciples as we wait in faith for possible things to come.
So, our “leading” of a Simple Church here in NC for 2013 can look and feel like a failure. For all the ways that we may measure success—numbers, new believers, discipleship meetings—we know that Simple Church isn’t about any of that. Living life with God can never be about failing and living life for God can never be about striving, even as we seek to multiply.
– Elizabeth, Winston Salem, NC
Our Year In Simple Church (Part 2) – By Elizabeth Harris http://t.co/yAGCvyRhuY
Thanks for this encouragement. We came much later to simple church in Lexington. We moved to columbus Ohio in May. It has been a challenging time in our church journey as well. Thanks for talking about reengaging the traditional church for a time. We have yet to embrace this fully. May 2014 be full of Jesus’ peace.
Brian–I know much of our family’s spiritual journey has been experiencing God in different ways during different seasons. He is so gracious to meet us in all the desperate, broken ways we try to find him and worship Him. While we love and miss Simple Church and fully believe in experiencing and inviting others into this way of doing church, we recognize it’s not the only way. I pray God will meet you all and surround you with community during your challenging time. We pray together!
Elizabeth, I’d love to meet you! We too are in Winston, and struggling with the traditional church setting.
Taryn, I’d love to connect you with the Harris family. Would you mind shooting me an email at email@example.com ?
Thanks! I know if you meet them you will be blessed!