Five years ago, my husband Kevin-Neil started running a “church service” with recovering drug addicts. Only, it wasn’t like any church service we’ve ever been a part of. It was a group of people sitting in a circle, and sharing their life stories, and engaging in interactive, hands-on learning, and exploring God’s story in community. And it was awesome.
We were so inspired by what we were seeing and learning that I thought I should write a book about it. I managed to put together an initial draft, and then realised I would get more conversation going through blogging. I made a commitment to myself to put one post up every week, to try to communicate a vision of what church could be like if we prioritised active participation, transformational community, and listening to the least of these.
I’ve been blogging now for over three years, and I managed to keep up my roughly-once-a-week commitment until around May this year. Kevin-Neil is still meeting weekly with Fresh Start Community – in fact, he’s in the process of launching similar groups covering the north, south, east and west of our city. I’m still passionate about ways to make church more interactive and empowering, and I still have an unfinished book in me, waiting to come out.
But… life gets busy. This is the first year my four children are in full-time schooling, and I’m beginning the process of retraining to get back into my career path, speech pathology. I have various ministry projects I’m involved in, and there just aren’t that many hours free in a week for a Mum-of-four. I’m coming into a season where I won’t be blogging as often (although I’m sure I’ll post something every now and then).
Looking back over the past few years, I’m quite amazed and grateful for how this journey has worked out…
I’ve gone from around 10 views a weeks when I first started out to an average of 100 views a day, even on the days when I’m not posting anything (it’s nothing compared to the big blogs, but seems like a lot to little old me).
One of my posts “went viral” (surely every blogger’s secret dream?) with over 100,000 views and 22,000 Facebook likes and shares.
I stirred up a heap of controversy on sermoncentral.com when I suggested that pastors should stop preaching and start facilitating.
I contributed regularly to the House2House Magazine website for about a year, along with some of the best-known bloggers of the simple church movement (unfortunately, the website has been taken down, which is a great shame, because it held a treasure trove of great articles from great writers).
I’ve had some fabulous guest bloggers contribute posts sharing the variety of ways they are expressing “church in a circle” in their local context.
Best of all, I’ve connected with literally thousands of people worldwide who long to do church differently, who are looking for creative ways to gather for mutual ministry and “one-anothering”. I’ve been in contact with writers and bloggers who inspire me. I’ve heard from churches who are adopting new approaches to gathering based on what I’ve written, which is incredibly encouraging and humbling at the same time. I’ve had wonderful interactions with my readers through the blog, Facebook and Twitter, and have made many friends in the process.
Thank you for being part of this journey. You may not hear from me as often, but I’m quite sure I’ll connect with you again from time to time, sharing things we are still learning, and contributing a small voice in a time of worldwide change within the church.