He wears his reading glasses and I wear dust and fatigue and we both wear looks of mischief. The longer we’re married the more looks of up to no good we seem to wear. We’re in a good spot and the move from needy children into the launching-little-birds phase of parenting is good for us. We’re relishing new found freedom and longtime love and we’re happy-
Over the moon happy.
We’re midstream the blah blah blah’s when someone knocks at the front door and it’s late, even for our neighborhood. He pulls himself up from the chair and closes the door behind him. I scroll Facebook looking for my friends while he meets our neighbors on the stoop.
And I sigh, full.
That makes nearly 20 years.
To say we know church would be an understatement because we have bled church work eight times longer than we have not.
We moved to Avent Street with the sole purpose of planting a house church in an under reached neighborhood full of marginalized people who desperately needed Jesus served alongside a hot meal and a break from their life.
It was intentional and thought out and strategic-
We moved our little white family full of redheads onto Avent Street and set up house. We hung a tire swing from the big oak tree and sunk about 1.5K into a treehouse/swingset/slide combo for the backyard. We bought a porch swing and a rocking chair and potted geraniums to line the front steps. We planted shrubbery and swept the front walk.
Because if you build it, they will come.
Because if you come in to save the day, you will indeed save it.
Or so we thought.
Within six months, we were holding church in our living room. I spent every Saturday, for an entire year, cleaning my house and cooking food and cutting our construction paper Noah’s arks so that we could get our church on here on Avent. (I also yelled at my kids and cussed the Man and cried at God, but that’s another post for another day.)
Because if you build it and cook it and clean it, surely Jesus will choose to make a grand appearance and people will get saved.
We passed out loaves of bread and held movie nights on the lawn and played nice in the neighborhood sandbox. We gave out turkeys at Thanksgiving. We passed out diapers and dollar bills.
For twelve months, we did everything we knew to do to reach our neighborhood.
And nothing sparkly or magical or strobe-lighty happened. We only made three ticks on the baptism chart and we would have made zero ticks on the Sunday School attendance chart if we had had Sunday School.
For twelve months, I chunked cans of beans at the Man and screamed that we had ruined our life. I was convinced that Jesus was punishing us for having prideful hearts and impure motives. Nothing was working and I was tired.
And when I got tired, I gave up.
And after all those months of crazy making, I finally heard Jesus whisper, “I was wondering how long it would take you to quit. You ready to do this My way? The easy and light way?”
And with my face on the floor of my hundred year old kitchen, I sobbed a broken yes.
It’s been a year since that episode on the floor of my kitchen. It’s been a year since the Man and I sat at opposite ends of our farm table and pushed all that we knew about church into the center of the table and just quit.
And it’s been a year since Jesus called us out of the doing and into abundant living.
We moved onto Avent Street to plant a church among a people lost without Jesus.
But Jesus moved us onto Avent to plant a desire within us for only Him.
And so we simply live here.
Right on Avent.
And we try and love our neighbors as we love ourselves…kinda like we do over at Baskerville.
And on sparkly, magical, strobe-lighty days, our neighbors see Jesus in our living.
This is the third post in a three part series titled, We Are Fellowship. I thank you for hanging in here until the end. You guys are troopers!