Weekly Update: 08.01.10

So it’s August today. Time flies!

I had a great response on a couple of my blog posts this week that really encouraged me and help me think of things differently. I always tend to want to try harder and figure out how to make things happen. I have been encouraged by the comments on these posts to learn to trust God, lean on Him, rest in Him, and not try to make things happen through my own strength and by my own understanding. Thanks to all who shared their thoughts!

Stephanie’s orientation went very well. She is just going to take one class in the fall to try to ease her way into things. She is excited for the opportunity to learn and meet new people.

We had dinner on Friday night with our friends who just moved back from PA. They have four little ones and we brought our two girls with us. Everyone had a great time. The kids were all running around screaming and being wild. They were having a great time! It’s nice to have dinner with a family who has kids. They don’t get annoyed every time the conversation is interrupted by a fussy kiddo. We talked a lot about the church. They want to start something to help local churches work together more, and they feel very strongly about promoting unity among the broader body of Christ.

Saturday I had coffee with a friend. He is a youth pastor at a local church. We had a great conversation. He shared some of his background with me and told me some of the things that he thinks are really important when pastoring youth. He shared a lot about integrating the youth within the broader church family. He also talked about how he felt it was his job to work with families to help parents disciple their own children. A big thing he emphasized was discipleship in real everyday life and how important that is for youth and all believers and how he felt that we as the American church in general have strayed from that. I really enjoyed talking with him!

We have talked a little about starting some kind of study group. I had an idea to start a New Testament Greek study group. I thought it could be fun and maybe insightful and definitely give us a chance to look at the New Testament. Ultimately it would just give us a chance to get to know some people better. The only issues are that I don’t know anyone who could teach a group like this, I don’t know if we could do it without a teacher or someone who knows the language well, and I don’t know if anyone would be interested in something like this.

We are hopefully having a couple people over for dinner this afternoon. They have expressed interest in being a part of a community of believers so I’m sure we will have the opportunity to get to talk more about that.

I am planning on getting together with a pastor in the area sometime soon. He is a good friend and I always enjoy talking with him. He wants to include more community minded elements into his church and is trying to start missional communities in some of the more outlying areas around us. He seems to really want to move into more of a Christ centered community than a program driven institution.

I plan on sharing a 3 part series on my blog this week inspired by an email from a good friend. I really hope you will get the chance to read it because I think it may be interesting and it deals with some of the most common ideas surrounding the church. I would love to get some feedback on those posts.

We have made a lot of connections. Please pray that those will grow into deeper friendships. Also pray that our understanding of the church and our role within that might continue to grow. I realize as we become more proactive that I have no idea what I am doing!

For now, enjoy the rest of the day. It is beautiful, sunny and cool here in Southern Maine. Hope it is just as lovely where you are. God is great and we are continuously amazed at the way he chooses to bless us!

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About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

12 responses to “Weekly Update: 08.01.10

  • norma hill

    I’d love to join your Greek group… Wishing physical travel was as quick and easy as internet communication!

    “Beam me over, Scottie!”

  • Dan Allen

    Wouldn’t that be great!?!

  • Learn Greek | The Assembling of the Church

    […] friend Dan (from “The Ekklesia in Southern Maine“). As he mentioned in his post “Weekly Update: 08.01.10“, Dan is contemplating starting a Greek study group. So, in his email, he was simply asking […]

  • Mark

    I love your heart and your openness. I definitely in my life have had a strong negative reaction towards the institution of church, and rightfully so. However, I have to begin putting the emotions behind, and begin seeing the institution without such negative emotion. There is definitely a need to try to build community with those that are in the system, as there is to be no division in the body, especially division based on whether or not you go to church. I do think we have to not water down our stance on the inherent faults of that system, but there certainly is room to, and a need to, build relationships. Along these lines I commend you for your openness in this regard. The Lord is doing amazing things, and there are people in the system who have very real hearts for the Lord, and hearts for His people. Good thoughts, brother.

  • Dan Allen

    Mark

    Thanks for the encouragement. I agree that we should not soften our stance when we feel that what is being done contradicts Scriptural teaching, what I am trying to work toward is an understanding that while the system may be far from what God desires, the people inside it many times have amazing hearts fro God and people. I think that as we build community, centered in Christ, with these and other believers that we will all move closer to what God is calling us to. I guess my biggest desire is to longer “write off” the people who are “part of the system” because many are truly brothers and sisters in Christ!

    -Dan

  • Mark

    Dan,

    And maybe this goes back to the institution being a mission field, so to speak? Not missions as in trying to win salvation, but trying to free people from the bondage of the world system.

    Mark

  • Dan Allen

    Mark

    I have talked with a number of people who see the move to a more New Testament model of the church as a reformation of more than an exodus from the institutional church. I think these people really grasp the idea of unity better than myself, who has always thought it would be better to just scrap all that and walk away from the people involved in that. I hope that whatever we do we will point people to Christ and we will all strive to be united in Him and serve Him in the way that He has called us!

    -Dan

    • Mark

      Dan,

      In my opinion reformation is not feasible. Until the community is built on the foundation of Christ, and is entirely out of the world’s system, the basic faults will remain. That is not to say that an entire body can’t remove itself from the world’s system and be “grafted” for lack of a better word, into the truth of the kingdom, but there would have to be very drastic shifts in understanding and function in that body, as well as in each individual. I do know of one body of believers in wichita, KS that is going through this transformation. I am sure it is a process, and not something that happens overnight. For the most part, however, I would probably tend to hold to your “scrap and start over” idea, as I don’t see any way in my location to start reformation from within an existing body. At least here the Lord has led us to start from scratch. I imagine the Lord can work by different means in different locations, as He is prone to! Also, maybe there is a certain amount of semantics here, depending on how one defines “reform”. Just my thoughts!

      Mark

  • Dan Allen

    Mark

    You are right on when you talk about our need to be founded on Christ rather than a worldly system. I guess when I speak of reformation (maybe I’m using the wrong word) I am speaking of, like you shared about the group in Wichita, being part of a movement of an entire body of believers. I guess the most important thing is, whether you start from scratch or are involved in moving an already present group toward Christ-centered community, that we glorify Christ and don’t abandon unity with our brothers and sisters.

    -Dan

  • Mark

    Right on, brother!

    mark

  • Mark

    Dan,

    While listening to a message on my way to work this am I had a clarification of thought that I wanted to add concerning this comment string. It is the downfall of man, left to his own devices, to recreate the same thing, with slightly different trappings. If we, understanding the downfall of the current system, step out and create our own system, we’ve failed. Likewise, if we, because of our greater understanding of the church, separate ourselves from our “churched” brothers and sisters, we are no different than they are. Therefore, we can not build anything. We must allow the Spirit to build, and it is not a separate entity, so to speak, but an open body, free to intermix with all Christians, from all levels of “institutionalization”. We can not discriminate against those that are churched, even those that still think we should ‘attend’. Always our goal is to build unity among the brethren, without sacrificing the truth of the gospel as He’s given it to us. I don’t say all this for your benefit, as you’ve already shown your openness in these respects, and I commend you. I say this for my benefit, and as a point of clarification for anyone who might misunderstand my intentions when I discussed “building from scratch”. I hope this portrays the idea I was trying to portray, as I see it clearly in my heart.

    Mark

  • Dan Allen

    Mark

    Great thoughts! I really like when you say: “it is not a separate entity, so to speak, but an open body, free to intermix with all Christians” I may not be part of First Baptist Small Town America but that has NOTHING to do with my willingness to fellowship with those who are! I am reading a lot of Scripture lately trying to understand unity and it seems like the overarching theme is that unity comes through the Spirit so the more we want to control what we do the harder unity will be, but like you say: “we can not build anything. We must allow the Spirit to build” and then we will see unity. I hope you get to check out the post I wrote today, your input would be greatly appreciated on that comment thread!

    Thanks Mark!

    -Dan

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