Is Deconstruction Enough?

I got this question in an email yesterday and felt it important enough to answer for others of you as well.

While I agree with many of the observations you and Mr. Young make with regards to institutional church (and I’m only a first generation Christian) – I am troubled by conclusions I’ve drawn (rightly or wrongly – and this may be where I could use some of your help) with regards to So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. I think that it is a no-brainer to say, “Let’s stop going to church. Let’s, rather, just be the church.” I’m with you on that – I’m tracking. I guess where I get hung up is that I believe that deconstructionism isn’t enough – it isn’t enough to say, “Sunday morning doesn’t work” – even if I agree with most of your points on this argument. To turn your own phrase, “Who wants to be on that side of the argument?”

Do you really want to be known as one of the guys who convinced people not to go to church on Sunday morning? Forgive me if this sounds cliche or preachy or even judgmental – but is that a conversation you want to have with Jesus – that a central contribution of your life was to deconstruct Sunday mornings?

What would you have us (your brothers and sisters) construct? It seems to me that it is too easy for any one of us to step away from Sunday morning because it isn’t working for all kinds of reasons. The truth is – we need your help to construct a different looking Sunday morning – to continue to ask good questions and critically examine what we are doing as a church – but to also build with us.

Here’s my response:

I’m not sure you’ve drawn the right conclusions. My answer is not a simple deconstruction of Sunday congregations. In fact, I’m often in them to share the life of Jesus. I’m for deconstructing the religious veneer that we shroud our gatherings in. For some of us that means getting out altogether. For others it might mean being part of a process that recovers a more grace-filled tone, and a less passive environment in which the life of Jesus gets shared. I’m all for looking for ways to do that with what we already have.

As to those who find that environment no longer works for their journey, I don’t want to construct anything for them to pursue. I do think that’s Jesus’ job. “I will build my church…,” is how he put it. The reason church life grows stale is because we’re looking for institutional solutions, not relational ones. If we equip people to live loved of God and live as lovers of people, the church will spring up all around us. It probably won’t be contained in a specific meeting or building but will grow wild and free and bear fruit in the interconnection, collaboration, cooperation and submission of brothers and sisters who are being changed by Jesus. That can look like a hundred different things. But once I begin to describe some of those things, I know our tendency as humans to prefer replicating a model to following the Head! We love to construct things, not build up people. The New Testament points us to building up people in Christ and seeing what expression that takes. I don’t think it works the other way around.

So the process in or out of those systems may be deconstruction of religion and ritual, equipping the saints to live inside the love of the Father, facilitate connections that stimulate cooperation, collaboration and submission and people follow Jesus together, then see what HE builds out of that.

I am convinced that’s the process we are in. Having another model to shift to will only shift the problem into a new shell. We’ve got 2000 years of church history to say that can’t work. And I’m happy to help on all sides of that process as Jesus gives me grace. But I don’t think anyone who knows me will think the central contribution of my life to deconstruct Sunday mornings. The central passion of my life is to help people live loved of the Father and love on his behalf with increasing freedom. To the degree that our institutions do that, I’m thrilled. To the degree they don’t, change is in order.

What kind of change? That’s up to the Head himself.

I’m only a bit player in this unfolding drama.

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32 Comments
  1. David William Edwards November 17, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    I too think that it’s not a “deconstruction” of Sunday morning but a “de-emphasis.” I find my answers in comparing the old covenant with the new. In the Old Covenant, God only showed up at certain times, in certainly places and only if the people did and said certain things. The New Covenant shows us the antithesis of that – God meets with His people at all times and at all places, without any set ritual. It’s not the Sunday Morning meetings are wrong, it just the realization that the time and place is no more special than any other time or place that believers meet.

    We keep wanting to go back into the forms and rituals in order to elicit God’s presence. It’s not priestly garments, but coats and ties. It’s no longer shrouds and curtains, but banners and flags. It’s become certain prayers (pleading the Blood, praying a hedge, Prayer of Jebez, et al) to garner a divine response, which border on incantations. How many times have attempted to recreate the past in order to have God’s presence now! What seems to be being emphasized is freedom in the Spirit and religion that is “tabla rasa.” Those that are lead by the Spirit are like the wind – you know not where they are coming from or where they are going. The old is gone and never did bring about reconciliation, so why do we keep going back there.

    The Lord brought a New Covenant that is very different than the old. It is the move into that freedom which often leads us away from the forms that are merely holdovers from the past.

  2. David William Edwards November 18, 2008 at 12:32 am

    I too think that it’s not a “deconstruction” of Sunday morning but a “de-emphasis.” I find my answers in comparing the old covenant with the new. In the Old Covenant, God only showed up at certain times, in certainly places and only if the people did and said certain things. The New Covenant shows us the antithesis of that – God meets with His people at all times and at all places, without any set ritual. It’s not the Sunday Morning meetings are wrong, it just the realization that the time and place is no more special than any other time or place that believers meet.

    We keep wanting to go back into the forms and rituals in order to elicit God’s presence. It’s not priestly garments, but coats and ties. It’s no longer shrouds and curtains, but banners and flags. It’s become certain prayers (pleading the Blood, praying a hedge, Prayer of Jebez, et al) to garner a divine response, which border on incantations. How many times have attempted to recreate the past in order to have God’s presence now! What seems to be being emphasized is freedom in the Spirit and religion that is “tabla rasa.” Those that are lead by the Spirit are like the wind – you know not where they are coming from or where they are going. The old is gone and never did bring about reconciliation, so why do we keep going back there.

    The Lord brought a New Covenant that is very different than the old. It is the move into that freedom which often leads us away from the forms that are merely holdovers from the past.

  3. kent November 18, 2008 at 5:37 am

    I heard someone call it the “Yes But” shuffle. I think we all go through it in the beginning thinking if this one is broken we need to build a new one. The season that the “Yes But” shuffle came to an end in my head was the day I have to say many new things began to open up in front of me…freedom is just like that.

  4. Alex November 18, 2008 at 7:32 am

    I have been out of organized gatherings for two years now. I understand that it is not about organized gatherings, but about religious behavior that is to be removed. I had hoped that Father would direct us (my wife and me) into some cool relationships, but that has not happened. I know that I need to be more intentional in my relationships, but work and family consume my time. Perhaps I have not waited long enough. But we are at the point that we miss regular gathering together.

    Wayne is a an advocate of the Head leading such matters, and that sounds good theoretically. However, is it not more of a dance where we make efforts to meet and gather, and the Head works with that? In other words, it seems to me now that we do have a place in constructing things with the Head, so I must say that I am now leaning toward the writer of the email’s point of view.

  5. kent November 18, 2008 at 8:37 am

    I heard someone call it the “Yes But” shuffle. I think we all go through it in the beginning thinking if this one is broken we need to build a new one. The season that the “Yes But” shuffle came to an end in my head was the day I have to say many new things began to open up in front of me…freedom is just like that.

  6. Fran November 18, 2008 at 9:25 am

    My husband is more of a people person than I am. He has led the way in establishing relationships across the lines of various congregational types of settings. We are somewhat of a puzzle to those who believe that loyalty to one organized group is best. His standard reply to questions about our visiting around is that we are part of the greater body of Christ but we are assigned to a specific fellowship at this time. Many get a look of relief on their face when they hear that explanation as if that is the way it should be.

  7. Alex November 18, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I have been out of organized gatherings for two years now. I understand that it is not about organized gatherings, but about religious behavior that is to be removed. I had hoped that Father would direct us (my wife and me) into some cool relationships, but that has not happened. I know that I need to be more intentional in my relationships, but work and family consume my time. Perhaps I have not waited long enough. But we are at the point that we miss regular gathering together.

    Wayne is a an advocate of the Head leading such matters, and that sounds good theoretically. However, is it not more of a dance where we make efforts to meet and gather, and the Head works with that? In other words, it seems to me now that we do have a place in constructing things with the Head, so I must say that I am now leaning toward the writer of the email’s point of view.

  8. Joe November 18, 2008 at 11:36 am

    I do believe that we all have our own journey. I am ever so grateful for the window into one brother’s story Wayne has allowed his life to be. It is an annotated example of how one brother has and is moving from an institutional, religious and performance based approach to faith to one that is relational, free and rooted in God’s unconditional love. I have gained much insight and encouragement from Wayne’s journey, yet I still have to walk my own journey in the midst of my own circumstances, relationships, background and personality. We must work out our own faith in the raw reality of a relationship with the God who loves us. It will certainly look different for different ones. I believe Wayne has suggested not that everyone should leave the institution, but that everyone should be freed up from false guilt and religious manipulation that keeps God’s children from following the Spirit of Jesus “wheresoever it will”. “So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore?” is not a one size fits all prescription. However, it is a pretty dead on description of much that hinders freedom in Jesus. By exposing those things for what they are and ‘dissing’ some well entrenched illusions it gives those believers whom God is leading to walk outside the walls the permission to do so. Those who feel that their path is to stay should certainly do so, but for the right reasons, because that is where Father’s love leads you. Wayne is simply opening up a two way door… Freedom to leave as well as freedom to stay.

  9. Fran November 18, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    My husband is more of a people person than I am. He has led the way in establishing relationships across the lines of various congregational types of settings. We are somewhat of a puzzle to those who believe that loyalty to one organized group is best. His standard reply to questions about our visiting around is that we are part of the greater body of Christ but we are assigned to a specific fellowship at this time. Many get a look of relief on their face when they hear that explanation as if that is the way it should be.

  10. Joe November 18, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    I do believe that we all have our own journey. I am ever so grateful for the window into one brother’s story Wayne has allowed his life to be. It is an annotated example of how one brother has and is moving from an institutional, religious and performance based approach to faith to one that is relational, free and rooted in God’s unconditional love. I have gained much insight and encouragement from Wayne’s journey, yet I still have to walk my own journey in the midst of my own circumstances, relationships, background and personality. We must work out our own faith in the raw reality of a relationship with the God who loves us. It will certainly look different for different ones. I believe Wayne has suggested not that everyone should leave the institution, but that everyone should be freed up from false guilt and religious manipulation that keeps God’s children from following the Spirit of Jesus “wheresoever it will”. “So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore?” is not a one size fits all prescription. However, it is a pretty dead on description of much that hinders freedom in Jesus. By exposing those things for what they are and ‘dissing’ some well entrenched illusions it gives those believers whom God is leading to walk outside the walls the permission to do so. Those who feel that their path is to stay should certainly do so, but for the right reasons, because that is where Father’s love leads you. Wayne is simply opening up a two way door… Freedom to leave as well as freedom to stay.

  11. Amy November 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    I think it is ok to NOT have an answer, a concrete idea, a “plan”. I have to agree that is when Father works best: when we stop contriving, creating and structuring. Part of this is definitely in American culture. And we are so structure-ingrained that we initially feel uneasy when we are not contained within something…anything. Seems like our natural and immediate response is loneliness and think we are doing something wrong. When in fact we may not be doing anything wrong at all. We may be exactly where he wants us to be…outside of our man-made expectations and relying on him for whatever whenever—that especially includes his LOVE. For what that is worth…..Cheers!

  12. Kari November 18, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Honestly, I don’t think it matters if you go to an institution as long as you are loving those around you the way Jesus did and doing what Father has put in your heart to do. Not everyone is the same and needs the same thing. I think that the institution can set us up to think that if we aren’t there then we are doing something wrong. One can get stuck in traditions and miss the fresh, new ways that Father comes to us. Jesus didn’t just teach in the synagogue but he also taught on a hilltop, at peoples houses and even at a well ! That shows me that there is diversity in loving people and not just one way is the right way.

  13. Amy November 18, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    I think it is ok to NOT have an answer, a concrete idea, a “plan”. I have to agree that is when Father works best: when we stop contriving, creating and structuring. Part of this is definitely in American culture. And we are so structure-ingrained that we initially feel uneasy when we are not contained within something…anything. Seems like our natural and immediate response is loneliness and think we are doing something wrong. When in fact we may not be doing anything wrong at all. We may be exactly where he wants us to be…outside of our man-made expectations and relying on him for whatever whenever—that especially includes his LOVE. For what that is worth…..Cheers!

  14. Kari November 18, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Honestly, I don’t think it matters if you go to an institution as long as you are loving those around you the way Jesus did and doing what Father has put in your heart to do. Not everyone is the same and needs the same thing. I think that the institution can set us up to think that if we aren’t there then we are doing something wrong. One can get stuck in traditions and miss the fresh, new ways that Father comes to us. Jesus didn’t just teach in the synagogue but he also taught on a hilltop, at peoples houses and even at a well ! That shows me that there is diversity in loving people and not just one way is the right way.

  15. Bill November 19, 2008 at 8:20 am

    It’s always easier to follow the crowd or fall into some kind of routine than it is to face each day as a new and fresh adventure with the Father. Establishing close relationships with others takes more time and effort than attending a 1 hour Sunday morning service.
    My wife and I don’t always do the same thing each week. Last week, for example, we had our “church gathering” on Saturday afternoon/evening in our home. The size of the group was only 6 people. We took a hike to a nearby canyon and enjoyed God’s creation, stopped to listen to coyotes howling, sat on the front patio and watched a marvelous sunset, grilled some steaks, broke a fresh loaf of bread in remembrance of Jesus, played Wii Bowling, and through it all we talked about important things in our lives together with the Father. Total time invested was about 7 hours. I can’t help but think that this is more like what Jesus envisioned for fellowship together.
    (I sure hope that someone doesn’t start an organization based on this specific “ritual”).

  16. Rich November 19, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Last sunday my wife and I walked out of a large gathering just as the ‘preacher’ got up to speak. We’ve been there 30 years and my wife even works in the office (another story about weaning ourselves off the public trough). We didn’t walk out because we disliked the preacher, but we both later agreed that the whole ritual seemed like a christian seance where we were trying to bring Jesus back from the dead by singing repetative words asking Him to ‘come fill this place’ and such. I was at such peace BEFORE watching my brothers and sisters begging, crying and pleading for the presence of God to inhabit the building we were meeting in…and it’s not a pentacostal meeting either!

    Anyway, watching my friends get into an emotional frenzy expecting God to manifest Himself because they do certain rituals, sing in a certain fashion, beg, cry and plead just doesn’t sit well with me anymore. If I want to find Jesus anyplace outside of my own body, I don’t have to Conjure Up His Spirit through special incantations…He said we can be close to Him when we spend time with the homeless, the widows, the poor, the needy, the fatherless children, the naked and hungry.

    I do enjoy spending time with others who profess Jesus, but a sunday morning ‘service’ looking at the back of my brothers head isn’t fellowship for me, it usually ends up interupting my peace of mind and heart.

  17. Bill November 19, 2008 at 11:20 am

    It’s always easier to follow the crowd or fall into some kind of routine than it is to face each day as a new and fresh adventure with the Father. Establishing close relationships with others takes more time and effort than attending a 1 hour Sunday morning service.
    My wife and I don’t always do the same thing each week. Last week, for example, we had our “church gathering” on Saturday afternoon/evening in our home. The size of the group was only 6 people. We took a hike to a nearby canyon and enjoyed God’s creation, stopped to listen to coyotes howling, sat on the front patio and watched a marvelous sunset, grilled some steaks, broke a fresh loaf of bread in remembrance of Jesus, played Wii Bowling, and through it all we talked about important things in our lives together with the Father. Total time invested was about 7 hours. I can’t help but think that this is more like what Jesus envisioned for fellowship together.
    (I sure hope that someone doesn’t start an organization based on this specific “ritual”).

  18. Rich November 19, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Last sunday my wife and I walked out of a large gathering just as the ‘preacher’ got up to speak. We’ve been there 30 years and my wife even works in the office (another story about weaning ourselves off the public trough). We didn’t walk out because we disliked the preacher, but we both later agreed that the whole ritual seemed like a christian seance where we were trying to bring Jesus back from the dead by singing repetative words asking Him to ‘come fill this place’ and such. I was at such peace BEFORE watching my brothers and sisters begging, crying and pleading for the presence of God to inhabit the building we were meeting in…and it’s not a pentacostal meeting either!

    Anyway, watching my friends get into an emotional frenzy expecting God to manifest Himself because they do certain rituals, sing in a certain fashion, beg, cry and plead just doesn’t sit well with me anymore. If I want to find Jesus anyplace outside of my own body, I don’t have to Conjure Up His Spirit through special incantations…He said we can be close to Him when we spend time with the homeless, the widows, the poor, the needy, the fatherless children, the naked and hungry.

    I do enjoy spending time with others who profess Jesus, but a sunday morning ‘service’ looking at the back of my brothers head isn’t fellowship for me, it usually ends up interupting my peace of mind and heart.

  19. Ian November 19, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    I too had a similar response after leaving a Charismatic group of believers a little over 3 years ago. There was an intense period of aloneness which I wanted to fill meeting with a group of like-minded people. I wanted a somewhat familiar environment where I could meet with people and talk about God but without the manipulation and without the intense emphasis on feelings. Rich’s comments above are spot on in this regard. Like many, we were unable to connect with a group and after some time I began to look at other options and reflect upon what exactly was my need for meeting in such a way.

    A couple of conclusions. It was all I knew since 9 years old until late 40’s. I had long since lost the capacity to engage in normal, everyday life within my local community. Also, I think in a very real way, talking and singing about God was as good as it got. It was a close as I could get to what I understood as experiencing the presence of God and it was not enough.

    Lately I have started to look at what opportunities that are in the community to connect with people. Not so much for the satisfaction of my own social, emotional and spiritual needs but in small ways on how to be a blessing to others. I’ve volunteered with an online telephone counseling service for folks experiencing difficulties and discovered that there are many people who are courageous, loving and compassionate who would not claim any affiliation with a Christian religious world view. This has been a real revelation to me.

    As time has progressed and as I’m beginning to engage in a normal everyday life, many of the emotional drivers about satisfying my own needs and trying to construct an environment to satisfy those needs no longer apply. I keep coming back to a powerful statement from Jesus where he said that the message of the whole of the law and prophets could be encapsulated into loving God and loving others. For me, that is the face of reality at the moment. Extending kindness to others and reflecting upon the goodness of God in my own life experiences. Along with that change has come a profound silence and peacefulness.

  20. Ian November 19, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    I too had a similar response after leaving a Charismatic group of believers a little over 3 years ago. There was an intense period of aloneness which I wanted to fill meeting with a group of like-minded people. I wanted a somewhat familiar environment where I could meet with people and talk about God but without the manipulation and without the intense emphasis on feelings. Rich’s comments above are spot on in this regard. Like many, we were unable to connect with a group and after some time I began to look at other options and reflect upon what exactly was my need for meeting in such a way.

    A couple of conclusions. It was all I knew since 9 years old until late 40’s. I had long since lost the capacity to engage in normal, everyday life within my local community. Also, I think in a very real way, talking and singing about God was as good as it got. It was a close as I could get to what I understood as experiencing the presence of God and it was not enough.

    Lately I have started to look at what opportunities that are in the community to connect with people. Not so much for the satisfaction of my own social, emotional and spiritual needs but in small ways on how to be a blessing to others. I’ve volunteered with an online telephone counseling service for folks experiencing difficulties and discovered that there are many people who are courageous, loving and compassionate who would not claim any affiliation with a Christian religious world view. This has been a real revelation to me.

    As time has progressed and as I’m beginning to engage in a normal everyday life, many of the emotional drivers about satisfying my own needs and trying to construct an environment to satisfy those needs no longer apply. I keep coming back to a powerful statement from Jesus where he said that the message of the whole of the law and prophets could be encapsulated into loving God and loving others. For me, that is the face of reality at the moment. Extending kindness to others and reflecting upon the goodness of God in my own life experiences. Along with that change has come a profound silence and peacefulness.

  21. Pam Hogeweide November 22, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    It is utterly fascinating to me that these conversations are epidemic in the body of Christ, at least in the West.

    We all need to pay attention to one another in this time of transition. There is certainly a holy wind of discontent blowing across Christendom and God knows it’s shredding the maps we’ve long held in our hands. Now we are like wilderness refugees looking at one another and asking, Um, what just happened? Which way do we go now?

    Some of us, in my opinion, will be particularly good at explaining the What Just Happened part, or deconstruction. Others will be amazing at helping guide us through the wreckage and rebuild a house of faith that is free of beliefism and dogma.

    Our significance as that raging beauty of Christ is always meant to be anchored in Who Jesus is and How he is to us. Our form may be in transition, but our identity never is.

    at least that’s the way i see it…..

    (h/t to http://www.erinword.com for pointing me here today……..)

  22. Pam Hogeweide November 22, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    It is utterly fascinating to me that these conversations are epidemic in the body of Christ, at least in the West.

    We all need to pay attention to one another in this time of transition. There is certainly a holy wind of discontent blowing across Christendom and God knows it’s shredding the maps we’ve long held in our hands. Now we are like wilderness refugees looking at one another and asking, Um, what just happened? Which way do we go now?

    Some of us, in my opinion, will be particularly good at explaining the What Just Happened part, or deconstruction. Others will be amazing at helping guide us through the wreckage and rebuild a house of faith that is free of beliefism and dogma.

    Our significance as that raging beauty of Christ is always meant to be anchored in Who Jesus is and How he is to us. Our form may be in transition, but our identity never is.

    at least that’s the way i see it…..

    (h/t to http://www.erinword.com for pointing me here today……..)

  23. Jeane` Miller November 24, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Dear Wayne…

    I have been reaping tremendous benefit by your writings over the past year and I am just now finally taking the time to let you know it. (I have three children under the age of 2.5, thus the lack of time and functional brain cells contributes to the stalling of such a note!). My husband & I read “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore” and it was akin to meeting a perfect stranger who surprises you by perfectly understanding you, and spelling out your ‘issues’ better than you could yourself! Coming from a background of Christian everything (church, school, conservative 1-year Bible School, parents, extended family, etc.), my perspective started to shift in my mid-twenties and has only continued to change with the years. Of course, circumstances started the change, but there were several books that accompanied, including Dallas Willard’s “Divine Conspiracy” and then, more recently several of your books. And yet, books are only tools which God uses to repair the heart and renew the mind. I certainly have not ‘arrived’, but am simply grateful to be free from the obligation and expectations of ‘performance’ (which my personality played into oh too well). It’s not about Sunday or Saturday or Wednesday services (which we do not attend any…and I blame it on the babies to my questioning friends and family! What a wimp!), but rather about the transforming love of Father. That’s it.

    Much love and thanks to you for living out His mission for you. It’s re-energized mine!

    Warmly,
    Jeane` (and Curtis) Miller
    Reading, PA

  24. Jeane` Miller November 24, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Dear Wayne…

    I have been reaping tremendous benefit by your writings over the past year and I am just now finally taking the time to let you know it. (I have three children under the age of 2.5, thus the lack of time and functional brain cells contributes to the stalling of such a note!). My husband & I read “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore” and it was akin to meeting a perfect stranger who surprises you by perfectly understanding you, and spelling out your ‘issues’ better than you could yourself! Coming from a background of Christian everything (church, school, conservative 1-year Bible School, parents, extended family, etc.), my perspective started to shift in my mid-twenties and has only continued to change with the years. Of course, circumstances started the change, but there were several books that accompanied, including Dallas Willard’s “Divine Conspiracy” and then, more recently several of your books. And yet, books are only tools which God uses to repair the heart and renew the mind. I certainly have not ‘arrived’, but am simply grateful to be free from the obligation and expectations of ‘performance’ (which my personality played into oh too well). It’s not about Sunday or Saturday or Wednesday services (which we do not attend any…and I blame it on the babies to my questioning friends and family! What a wimp!), but rather about the transforming love of Father. That’s it.

    Much love and thanks to you for living out His mission for you. It’s re-energized mine!

    Warmly,
    Jeane` (and Curtis) Miller
    Reading, PA

  25. Jim Wehde November 29, 2008 at 8:04 am

    If there is any question at all that Wayne is encouraging us to listen to the Spirit, on not simply deconstructing Sunday mornings, let me share this:

    A few years ago, when I shared on a discussion group we share that I thought God might be calling me back into leadership at the Big(top) Church, Wayne had one simple reply: “I would be thrilled if you followed His leading there.”

    For some reason we cannot explain, Father continues to involve us in this Over-organized Church, and continues to show His hand actively at work there. We are now, with the full blessings of the leadership, leading a Life Group centered around Jim Palmer’s “Divine Nobodies”. I have never seen the Lord bind hearts together so very quickly — and the miracles we have seen over the last six weeks in answered prayer and sharing of each others’ burdens has been nothing short of miraculous.

    Thanks, Wayne, for your consistent encouragement to know the Shepherd’s Voice – and not just the voice of a house church guru : )

    Jim Wehde
    Spokane, Washington

  26. Jim Wehde November 29, 2008 at 11:04 am

    If there is any question at all that Wayne is encouraging us to listen to the Spirit, on not simply deconstructing Sunday mornings, let me share this:

    A few years ago, when I shared on a discussion group we share that I thought God might be calling me back into leadership at the Big(top) Church, Wayne had one simple reply: “I would be thrilled if you followed His leading there.”

    For some reason we cannot explain, Father continues to involve us in this Over-organized Church, and continues to show His hand actively at work there. We are now, with the full blessings of the leadership, leading a Life Group centered around Jim Palmer’s “Divine Nobodies”. I have never seen the Lord bind hearts together so very quickly — and the miracles we have seen over the last six weeks in answered prayer and sharing of each others’ burdens has been nothing short of miraculous.

    Thanks, Wayne, for your consistent encouragement to know the Shepherd’s Voice – and not just the voice of a house church guru : )

    Jim Wehde
    Spokane, Washington

  27. George November 29, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    As to those who find that environment no longer works for their journey, I don’t want to construct anything for them to pursue. I do think that’s Jesus’ job. “I will build my church…,” is how he put it.

    Well put. I’m so glad to hear someone willing to trust Jesus to build His ekklesia…his church – His whatever He wants it to be. I often get anxious when those who speak the truth about stale institutionalism then think it is necessary for them then present a model for correcting this error!?

    I think when Jesus said “I will build church”…the emphasis was on I and MY…as opposed to “church”.
    I rejoice when reading such “deconstructions” leaves someone gasping for breath..crying out “what now”. I fully believe that if we seek Him He will indeed build his called out ones and that which He builds will withstand even the gates of hell or perhaps kick them open!

    There is only one pattern…it is not a house church…or a denominational church…or an intentional community” or even my experiences of “gathering”. The pattern IS Jesus Christ. Though this may not make sense to many, it sure makes sense to me.

    Look at what the Lord has done in China and all over the world! We do not need a model of a new construction waht we need is one new man. If we just seek Him He will do the rest. It may not appear as antyhing we have ever seen…or anything we think is acceptable. However, neither did he to his contmporaries. So, we will be in good company. His company!

  28. George November 29, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    One last word. I have often thought that the problem with our understanding of our Lord’s response to Peter…”and upon this rock I will build my church”…is the use of the word “build”. To the carnal mind this word signifies what? AN EDIFICE – A BUILDING – something tangible. When you say to someone – “I”m about to build a church”..What do you think they most likely “see”? I would suspect that they would most likely visualize visualize a ‘building” – sacred space…an edifice – a PLACE which is set aside for “worshiip”. They see this within the framework of Western culture not necessarily with they eyes of the Spirit.

    Our Lord certainly wasn’t picturing a building or else he would have used the word for either Temple or Synagogue in His response to Peter.

    Using the term “de-construction” makes it sound like one is attempting to tear down or destroy something…in this case “the church”?! Jesus Himself got in trouble for saying something similar. “tear down (de-construct) this temple and I will raise re-buld it in three days.” Such a statement got Him in very hot water with the “chosen people” of His day. They did not understand that he was referring to His body not some physical entity.

    Those brothers and sisters who are trying to assist us with “seeing” things in a more spiritual light are simply suggesting that we need new rhetoric and expanded vision of what it means to “be” church. It is an attempt to hhelp eliminate the cultural pictures in our minds of building and church.

    One thing I know, is that our Lord is building something spiritual, a spiritual habitation made of “living stones”. Perhaps, as Snyder, we should call it the community of the King or like Ern Baxter who often referred to it as the redeemed community. Most definitely what Jesus came to build is living and organic not a building or institution.

    Whatever, I am thankful for those who despite being misunderstood, maligned and often rejected are willing to speak the truth in love and challenge us to stepoutside the box and consider the larger picture.

  29. George November 29, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    As to those who find that environment no longer works for their journey, I don’t want to construct anything for them to pursue. I do think that’s Jesus’ job. “I will build my church…,” is how he put it.

    Well put. I’m so glad to hear someone willing to trust Jesus to build His ekklesia…his church – His whatever He wants it to be. I often get anxious when those who speak the truth about stale institutionalism then think it is necessary for them then present a model for correcting this error!?

    I think when Jesus said “I will build church”…the emphasis was on I and MY…as opposed to “church”.
    I rejoice when reading such “deconstructions” leaves someone gasping for breath..crying out “what now”. I fully believe that if we seek Him He will indeed build his called out ones and that which He builds will withstand even the gates of hell or perhaps kick them open!

    There is only one pattern…it is not a house church…or a denominational church…or an intentional community” or even my experiences of “gathering”. The pattern IS Jesus Christ. Though this may not make sense to many, it sure makes sense to me.

    Look at what the Lord has done in China and all over the world! We do not need a model of a new construction waht we need is one new man. If we just seek Him He will do the rest. It may not appear as antyhing we have ever seen…or anything we think is acceptable. However, neither did he to his contmporaries. So, we will be in good company. His company!

  30. George November 29, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    One last word. I have often thought that the problem with our understanding of our Lord’s response to Peter…”and upon this rock I will build my church”…is the use of the word “build”. To the carnal mind this word signifies what? AN EDIFICE – A BUILDING – something tangible. When you say to someone – “I”m about to build a church”..What do you think they most likely “see”? I would suspect that they would most likely visualize visualize a ‘building” – sacred space…an edifice – a PLACE which is set aside for “worshiip”. They see this within the framework of Western culture not necessarily with they eyes of the Spirit.

    Our Lord certainly wasn’t picturing a building or else he would have used the word for either Temple or Synagogue in His response to Peter.

    Using the term “de-construction” makes it sound like one is attempting to tear down or destroy something…in this case “the church”?! Jesus Himself got in trouble for saying something similar. “tear down (de-construct) this temple and I will raise re-buld it in three days.” Such a statement got Him in very hot water with the “chosen people” of His day. They did not understand that he was referring to His body not some physical entity.

    Those brothers and sisters who are trying to assist us with “seeing” things in a more spiritual light are simply suggesting that we need new rhetoric and expanded vision of what it means to “be” church. It is an attempt to hhelp eliminate the cultural pictures in our minds of building and church.

    One thing I know, is that our Lord is building something spiritual, a spiritual habitation made of “living stones”. Perhaps, as Snyder, we should call it the community of the King or like Ern Baxter who often referred to it as the redeemed community. Most definitely what Jesus came to build is living and organic not a building or institution.

    Whatever, I am thankful for those who despite being misunderstood, maligned and often rejected are willing to speak the truth in love and challenge us to stepoutside the box and consider the larger picture.

  31. Mark in Gilbert, AZ December 11, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    It is such a blessing to have this forum to share our journey! Wayne was in Arizona and we were blessed by hearing his teaching on Sunday. What I found was a humble, gentle man of God that has no agenda, no plan of action and no ego. It would be so easy for Wayne to reach back into his “Pastor” role and start to lead people…but not Wayne! No, Wayne is all about teaching Jesus Christ, love, grace and freedom!

    God is creating something new…but it will not be contained by walls, buildings or leaders. We are all on a journey with Him (God). Sometimes we’ll be alone, at other times He will send others to walk with us. But the ONE THING is that He just wants us to “abide in Him”.

    Thank you Wayne for hanging out in Gilbert, AZ! And I’d like to thank all of you that respond to Wayne’s blogs…it encourages my journey!

    Mark

  32. Mark in Gilbert, AZ December 12, 2008 at 1:12 am

    It is such a blessing to have this forum to share our journey! Wayne was in Arizona and we were blessed by hearing his teaching on Sunday. What I found was a humble, gentle man of God that has no agenda, no plan of action and no ego. It would be so easy for Wayne to reach back into his “Pastor” role and start to lead people…but not Wayne! No, Wayne is all about teaching Jesus Christ, love, grace and freedom!

    God is creating something new…but it will not be contained by walls, buildings or leaders. We are all on a journey with Him (God). Sometimes we’ll be alone, at other times He will send others to walk with us. But the ONE THING is that He just wants us to “abide in Him”.

    Thank you Wayne for hanging out in Gilbert, AZ! And I’d like to thank all of you that respond to Wayne’s blogs…it encourages my journey!

    Mark

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