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In this episode, Darin and Hans talk about something I have often toyed with doing myself, but have never seriously considered, mainly because I simply don’t have the time or energy to do it because of my job. But I have always been hoping and dreaming I would hear of somebody who did this, and now, Darin is planning it!
What is it he is thinking of doing? He is thinking of planting a church with the purpose of helping people get a revelation of God that help them see that they don’t actually need that Sunday morning style of church. In other words, it’s a Sunday morning church service to help people see that they don’t need a Sunday morning church service. It’s a church to help people see that we don’t need to attend church because we are the church.
In my book, Close Your Church for Good, which I hope to finally publish later this year after seven years of writing and editing, I write about how I think that all church plants and all church programs should have expiration dates on them.
It often seems that churches get planted and then church programs get started which always have wonderful purposes and significance, and even go a long way in accomplishing a need that God has laid on someone’s heart to meet. And people’s lives are changed. The gospel is shared. People are brought into the Kingdom of God and shown a new way to live. But then the church continues on, or the program is not cancelled, long after it has served its purpose. I write in my book that this can be avoided by only planting churches or only starting church programs if we begin with the end in mind, and firmly and resolutely stamp an expiration date on whatever church plant or church program we start.
I have never seen anyone do this, but it sounds like Darin and Hans are thinking of planting a church in the Tacoma, WA area with this exact idea. They know that most Christians feel that they absolutely must do the Sunday morning service activity in order to be pleased and accepted by God, and they know that the message about living in a genuine, day-to-day relationship with God outside of the four walls of institutional Christianity is not something most Christians are ready to hear. They also know that many people are getting a religious message in their church that is full of duty, obligation, fear, guilt, shame, and manipulation.
So Darin and Hans are thinking of planting a church which gives people a church setting to hear the message of the unconditional love and grace for the first time, and then, after nine months or a year, let people graduate out of this church so that they can go on and live their lives as God wants us to, outside of religion.
Frankly, I don’t know if Darin and Hans will be able to pull this off. But I would love to watch them try, and maybe learn along with them as they do. If you are confused about how this would work or what they would do, this podcast sort of introduces some of this. They don’t give a whole lot of details, but there is enough just to explain the what and the why.
I love how they not only have a heart of helping Christians see a revelation of God’s love, but also for helping pastors escape the bondage of expectations and rules that pastors so often live under. I very clearly remember living under these expectations when I was a pastor, and would have loved for someone to come alongside me and tell me what Darin and Hans are saying in this podcast.
Also, did you catch it there at the end? There was another little tidbit about the Prodigal Son which sort of gave some more insight into that wonderful Parable which we heard N. T. Wright explain in the last Theology.fm podcast.
Anyway, I would love to hear what you think about this church planting idea by Darin and Hans. Leave a comment below.