Seasons of church

 Autumn

My life has been pretty busy lately.

I’ve taken on a few projects which I may write about soon. Also, the summer holidays have come to an end on this side of the world, and I have one child finishing high school, one starting high school, and the youngest starting full-time Pre-Primary. For the first time in 17 years, all four of my kids are in school during the week (yay!). This frees me up in some ways, but also allows me to fill up my hours with volunteer work and things-I’ve-been-waiting-to-do-for-years-and-years.

Anyway, in all the busyness of this season, I haven’t had much time to write. After three years of putting up one post a week, I’ve gone nearly 6 weeks without blogging! I hope you will all forgive me (if you even noticed my absence).

It strikes me that we move through busy and quiet seasons of life, and we may also move through different seasons of church. Most churches run a one-size-fits-all approach to gathering together, where we sit in rows, sing some songs and listen to a sermon, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. But perhaps this model doesn’t fit with the seasons of life.

I love the concept of “organic church”. Rather than viewing church as a machine, which needs to be oiled and maintained, we see it as a plant, which grows, reproduces and dies in different seasons. It is incredibly liberating to realise that different forms of church we participate in don’t have to go on year after year to be successful – sometimes they may last a few months, or meet every-now-and-then, but they can still be powerful and effective in our lives.

Hopefully I get more time to write this year. I’d love to write a book about all the things we have learned about doing church in a circle. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for this season of life and church.

5 thoughts on “Seasons of church

  1. Having gone through a wide range of life’s seasons at age 71, I can attest to the validity of your thoughts here. I am looking forward to spring. It brings the possibility of gathering again, closer to my home perhaps, in a smaller group of folks who want to give up some measure of spontaneity in order to study together. The roads have been bad this winter, the distance to gatherings too far, some months of illness and death of a loved one have kept me indoors and with minimal fellowship. I do appreciate the established churches near my home…the opportunity to walk in the mornings with some other folks at the nearby Methodist church that built a gym some years back and the senior lunches that the nearby UCC church holds now and again where I see neighbors I don’t often see in daily life. The community that these churches have provided for their long time members is a blessing for sure. But I do long for the simple house meetings that nurture my spirit and soul in ways that Sunday church in pews just doesn’t. My season of relative isolation is to be cherished as well as my seasons of abundant fellowship as it has created that hunger to gather again, which can wain under the stress of sometimes only minor irritations or at other times some major ones. I am reminded as I write this, of a line from Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag: “…Live with a steady superiority over life – don’t be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn’t last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing…”. (page 590). Blessings on your new season…enjoy them all for they are all filled with wonder and there is wisdom to be gained from each. All are preparation for what is next on God’s agenda.

    • I feel really encouraged by your comment Rita. I think many Jesus-followers are finding a mix of established church and organic church practices are sustaining them through different seasons. It doesn’t have to be either/or.

      Spring is on its way (over your side of the globe). Here in Perth, Australia, it is 41 degrees today (106F). I’m looking forward to the end of summer!

      Blessings,

      – Kathleen

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