The past three days have been very good. Friday the Knowles and I went to Portland to Fort Williams on the coast where there is a light house and some other stuff. We walked around the coast for a while and the kids played on the beach. Then we went to we went to the mall because Pam needed to buy a dress for her piano recital that she is hosting. So we went to the mall and I helped her pick out something fashionable. Just kidding, although I am very fashionable, Tim and I decided it would be better to go play with the kids at a playground while Pam went in search of her dress. After that we headed back to South Paris, put the kids to bed, and soon afterwards I went to bed. I was downstairs in my room hanging out before Talia had gone to be and she came down special to give me a hug. It was precious.
On the church plant side of things, I asked Tim earlier that morning what the Organic Church should or would look like in 50 years (that was the last of the “twenty questions” that I had written up to inquire about). Tim said that it is hard to maintain this structure if the church body gets too large, but he said that the main thing is that you need to fight the desire to take control. Pastors often becoming managers and take over all the programming and what have you. Tim said that you need to fight the tendency to take those things over and force/encourage the lay people to step up and use their gifts. For instance, there was a lady here at Moss Brook who wanted to start a lady’s ministry. So she came to Tim and said, “Hey I really want to start a lady’s ministry.” Tim said that was great and that she should go ahead and do it. Well, a couple months later nothing had happened and this same lady went to Mike and said the same thing. Mike told her that was great and that she should go ahead and start it. Again, nothing happened. About six months after that this lady called a meeting with her and the pastors and complained about how she didn’t feel like they were supporting her. Tim told her that they had their full support, but that they weren’t going to put their energy into programming a lady’s ministry. He said that God had given her a passion for that not him. There still isn’t a lady’s ministry at Moss Brook and it would be really easy for Mike and Tim throw that on their to-do list, but they don’t. Tim explained that God gifts people for certain things and gives them passions for certain things. He believes that if God made that lady passionate about lady’s ministry she should be the one to put it in motion. This may sound harsh, but it puts responsibility for ministry back into the lay peoples’ hands. As far as what the church is going to look like in 50 years, Tim didn’t have a whole lot to say about that except that he thinks it’s important that we ask that question of every church system in place and not just this style. Although he did say that he thinks it’s possible to keep it this simple by being intentional and focusing on duplication instead of growing the congregation.
Saturday was very chill. Justin came down and woke me up at 8:20. He rode into my room on his big wheel trike and said, “Levi are you sleeping?” Haha! Kids. Anyways, so I helped Tim set up their pool and tried to avoid getting splashed by the munchkins. Then at noon the Knowles took me to a Tim Horton’s somewhere where we said good bye and they handed me off to Steve and Ann. We got to their house in Gardiner and then went on a bike ride down a scenic river trail. We had dinner and then I read some and talked with them about their kids, politics, and the church.
Today then we had church in Steve’s home. It was basically a bible study lead by Steve. There was a man named Joe who came and brought his family. Joe is a Christian but his wife is not. So that was interesting to have her here with us. She was very nice but didn’t say much when we were going through the passages. She seemed to be very comfortable though and I thought and Steve said she’s been coming for a little while with Joe and she’s starting to ask some good questions. After church then we had lunch and then went to Boothbay Harbor where we went sailing on a double masted schooner. Very cool! We sailed around the Atlantic for about 2 hours. There were many small islands and it was very scenic. Quite a way to conclude my time here in Maine.
As we were sailing the Captain explained that he had circumnavigated the world 2 times and that when you sail, you never go the same way twice because the wind depicts where you are going. Forgive me for the cheesy analogy, but I couldn’t help but relate that back to what I’ve witnessed up here. The Holy Spirit is blowing in a different direction than what I’m used to in relation to how church is being done, but the outcome remains unchanged; disciples are being made. It seems that a church planter and sailor are very similar in that the destination is always in view, but the wind is determining the path they take to get there.