Probably the most wonderful workshop that I have been at during this whole conference was the one hosted by the folks from The Bridge community in Portland. There were other groups there that were encouraging as well… everything was regarding planting churches with people who have no money. Good stuff… it sounds like me. The Bridge is dedicated to being very relational with those on the streets of Portland who do not live in houses.
One person threw out a comment regarding getting people outside of the church walls to be relational. He said, “Churches need to release people from the normal church stuff. The Bible studies, the groups, etc. We are all so busy within the church to be incarnational outside the church.” I totally agree with this… but realize that it is soooo difficult to get people to participate less in the life of their own church community. We want to feel good about being in church. We want to build a really cool place to hang out with the hope that those who visit will think so too. I suppose that we are getting to a place where people don’t find life inside the church the cool place to be. There are plenty of cool things already going on.
After the Bridge workshop, I went up to talk to Ken Loyd, one of the pastors at the Bridge. He has built some wonderful relationships with those in Portland who “don’t live in houses.” I wanted to talk to him about the beginning processes of starting a vibrant community. I usually end up expressing to folks that the thing that gets me most is the “slowness.” “Slowness! That’s the point!!” Ken said. “You will be an instant success in maybe four or five years… You have to do things that are completely un-extraordinary. Don’t do anything special or spectacular. This is how you will be legendary.” He went on to say that so many churches out there are trying to do extraordinary things. It is getting tiring for people. We just have to be normal and engage people where they are at with the absolutely normal things of life.
Relationships. Nothing extraordinary. Nothing spectacular. I love this!