How to start? Let’s see. This is my journey outside the walls of the institutional church. This experience may not be for you, but it is mine. It is a journey that started in 2000 when God simply told us to leave the institutional denominational church where we served in a leadership position.
Qualification: We did not leave Christianity. We were not rebellious or independent. We left in obedience to God’s word to us. It began a glorious journey of joy, sadness, grief, healing, rejection, acceptance, love, anger, and total brokenness that forms our life right up until today as I write this blog.
We are now outside the walls, so to speak. Outside in the sense that we don’t attend a church every Sunday. But, we are looking and visiting, asking the Lord for a place where we fit to give and receive life from other believers.
Another qualification to forgo persecution from this blog: I am not against the church and whether one meets in a cathedral, a home, a park, a coffee shop, or an office. The form is changing and we discovered that when we left in 2000, we wanted to be part of the change that God is bringing worldwide.
Last qualification before I get into the ‘stuff”. By writing this, many leaders will write me off perhaps calling me uncovered, not accountable, or some such thing. I am speaking this now to untangle myself from the assumptions people have of me and what I am and what I am not. I will write in an unscripted honesty to be free and to move out in what God has called Rivers of Eden to be. Let’s start.
I can remember the day discontent began to rise up in my spirit. It all began when the cry of my heart went something like this:
“If I go into the city, I will die. If I stay here, I will die. So I have to move up and out, but where?”
Where was that in Scripture? Oh yes. Here it is. It may be a bit obscure to some but the story sounded a lot like my own heart cry.
2 Kings 7:3-5 3 Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We will enter the city, ’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.” 5 And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there. NKJV
That was how I felt. If I went into the city, the current condition of the church, there was a famine. Building on form and formality and fear of man, there was little if any actual flow of Holy Spirit. If I stayed where I was in discontent, looking at the church, standing outside the walls, I would die in a place of tension. The only answer was to move out. But where? It was scary being outside the walls. Religion had trained me up so well. I did all the right things. I said all the right things. Looking back. Looking around. Looking forward. There really was no alternative to moving out.
Little did I know then what the journey would entail. I thought everyone would understand. They did not. I thought I would still maintain relationships that I had in the church. I did not. I also thought that the ministry to which God called me would continue to grow. It did not. My journey begins right now. Thirteen years later, here I stand. So much has happened between then and now. Here goes………….