Recently, we concluded our annual Simple Church Retreat. We were blessed to welcome friends from Alabama, Ohio, Eastern Kentucky and Central Kentucky to The Stanford Inn at Wilderness Road.
This year our conversation centered around the idea of simple church as a way of life–not a “ministry” or “way of doing church.” Simple church as a way of life is something I have discussed in recent years as the Lord has helped me to clarify my role with Simple Church Alliance. I’ve learned that Simple/house/organic church can be important in facilitating a way of living the Christian life that is wonderful, free from religiosity, guilt and shame. Yet, simply attending a house church or trying to start a house church does not magically make that happen. Jesus is the Way…and while simple church can help others discover Him, it can also be a distraction if we don’t God give room to work at His own pace.
This year I wanted to have a conversation with other leaders around the region regarding pace and the time frame in which God works. We watched and discussed this thought provoking video entitled “Godspeed.” The idea of “slowing down to catch up with God” is something that I see more and more relevant in our world that is moving at a feverous pace. It’s also a concept that Wylie is teaching Karla and I daily as we care for her and watch God at work in her life. The world is full of stress, pressure, and performance and often, without realizing it, we are inviting others into a Christian life that is more of the same. The way of life that Jesus is calling us to leads to “rest for our souls.”
Jeremiah 6:16 This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
We had a wonderful time getting to know one another and asking the Lord for this “ancient path” and wisdom about how we might walk in it. I’m continually grateful to my friend Bart for the conversations we have had recently (in these podcasts) that have been helpful in working through many of these ideas.
I know many of you wanted to come but where unable. I’d be more than happy to help you facilitate a similar retreat with your friends and perhaps even host it for you at the same place in Standord. If you are interested in that, please let me know. There is such a wonderful blessing that comes from taking time to reflect on the way of life that Jesus is calling us into. It is a ancient way of living… a life that leads to rest and peace.
This was our group…minus Sandra who had to leave early to prepare for Ireland! We also missed Kate and Kaleb due to sickness! We will continue to pray for each of you all as you pursue Jesus in your home towns! – Gavin