Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Six-Pack of House Churches

The Tall, Skinny Kiwi has posted six (well, seven) different types of house churches that we see emerging into the faith landscape. I believe EmDes would likely fit into the first category.

1 Off-the-grid house churches that intentionally do not want to be known, listed or be on anybody's radar. We find out about them by accident or through opinion polling or sampling, the kind of research George Barna does.

These OoCC (out of Church Christians) gatherings contain a lot of the God-yes-church-no crowd out there.

As a group, we tend to think that if you know about us, then we're doing something wrong! It seems that many of us are from backgrounds where we felt we had to "sell" our church to others, and we shy away from letting others know about the community we're involved with. But, interestingly, that has made it all the more intriguing to people! More listed, after the jump...


Jimbo said...

Hey Joshua, thanks for posting this. At first when I read your comment, I wanted to disagree, but then after reading the rest of the article, I would have to agree with you.
I'm not sure we are trying to hide and in fact I think we would love to welcome others with open arms who are interested in joining our community.
I loved this comment on TSK's post:
"so if they do exist, they must be so far below the radar they are hobbits :-)"...Yeah, maybe some of us are :)

Yard said...

I agree Jim. We are certainly not intentionally hiding ourselves. I think the subtle difference is this: not that we don't want to be known, but that to "grow" in numbers is not on our top priority list.

I am so grateful for the people that have come and found community in EmDes, and I imagine there are more out there. However, "advertising" (in whatever form that may take) would seem fake and counter intuitive.

Jimbo said...

I agree with you 100% Jacob.
Advertising is yucky and fake.
Definitely don't like the idea of pimping ourselves to somehow draw others into relationship with us. It has never been about numbers, it has been about the conversation (and relationships that go with that).

Matt said...

I don't think it's that hard to find us. Let the Spirit guide people here and keep it organic. Wow, that sounds so mystical.

Sarah said...

I actually disagree that we're in the first category...after reading the article I think that that's just the one OUT OF THOSE SIX that is the most like us. But why only six? Why THOSE six? Why categories and labels at all? (Just a rhetorical question, I liked the article, just wondering).

But seeing as most people have found our group through the internet in some capacity (and not relational connections), I don't think we can qualify as people who try to fly as much under the radar as possible!

Debbie said...

Great post Josh... As always your thoughts and ideas spark wonderful conversations.

EmDes fits part of the description, but only part. There is too much fluidity in the hc movement overall, not to mention emerging Christianity in small group community. (By fluidity I don’t mean a mish mash of theology, instead the fluidity refers to the diversity of people within these movements. Just look at our group… newborn moving up six decades.) Six or seven different categories is just the start, and while Sara has a point in questioning why categorize at all, I understand the necessity of the article by Tall Skinny Kiwi.

Some of the shyness within the group of letting others know about our community has less to do with not wanting people to know, and more about the proper identifiers. Are we a church? Are we a bible study? What is a cohort? Are we “weird?” Are we a book club? Yes to most of these questions. No, we are most certainly not weird.

Who we are, or why we are can be difficult to explain as our cohort does not fit much of a mold. I have found it easier to explain who we are by first telling folks what we do by way of service in community.

Yard said...

Ha - I think we're pretty weird, Debbie. But I think that's one of our best qualities.

Joshua Seek said...

Jim, Yeah, maybe I was a bit off with my statement that we're hiding the fact we exist. But there's a flinch in, at least myself, that says if I (or a group I'm a part of) is known, then it's a negative. That flinch comes from being a part of the "known" at one time. You're right that the key is in advertising. Advertising becomes negative. Natural attraction, as Matt said, is good.

Sarah, so true... so fluid... like trying to nail jello to a wall (where have I heard that before??) It's true, it's hard to nail things down. That's our greatest asset, and downfall.

David k wheeler said...

Given that self-satisfying numbers are lame, is it not also safe to remember with intention that numbers of voices in the ever-so-pregnant conversation are, in fact, worth soliciting? Do we make it a collective action point? Can welcoming be different than introducing. Convergence and philosophical inbreeding are maybe the mess that caused the outbreak in the fist place, right? I feel the ever-present danger at times of leaving only the back door open to our private safe-house. (insert self-deprecating justification statement here) Acknowledging the myriad of phases represented in he cohort, i think it can be laid out that continued communal depth will require constant devotion to breadth too, no?

maybe i should have just said: no duh, good reminder. leave me alone i have a cold...