I am using this post to bring you up to date on where things stand regarding the vision for a new church in or near Columbus, Ohio. When you finish reading, you may conclude that there is still a lot more to this vision that is tentative rather than definite. That’s true. These “next steps” are not yet anchored in concrete. In fact, what I am sharing here is more like the wooden forms into which the concrete has yet to be poured. But it is a start.
By the way, I am pleased to be able to write much of what I report here in the first person plural, as “we” rather than “I,” since I am serving as the voice for at least two other brothers who share this vision with me. This is a small “core” group, I know, but it is three times as large as it was just a few months ago. And one reason for reporting developments this early, where so much remains tentative, is to encourage others to identify with the vision in its formative stage. I want to provide sufficient information to show that the vision is developing in a thoughtful manner, with no desire on anybody’s part to impose a personal agenda on the process. We are, as much as we know how, waiting on God to direct our path every step of the way.
As I write this in late May, I am able to report that we have decided to schedule a series of public meetings, beginning in late summer or early fall (probably September) and continuing for six months, one meeting per month, likely on a Saturday evening. The dates and times and precise location are all uncertain at present (although it will, of course, be in the vicinity of Columbus), but some details are beginning to take shape.
The meetings will be, first and foremost, services of worship. The general structure of the services will be guided by the Book of Common Prayer. Elements will include music, scripture readings from the Revised Common Lectionary, a brief homily (sermon), prayer, and Holy Eucharist (communion). The worship service will be followed, for all who want to participate, by a time of informal fellowship, including an opportunity for conversation related to the content of the sermon or any other topic that seems pertinent and timely.
Our goal in all of this is to worship the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in a manner that is both structured and spontaneous, characterized by reverence and rejoicing. Every service will remind us of the richness of the church’s two thousand-year history as well as its timeless relevance as exemplified in contemporary forms and expressions.
The services will also reflect our commitment to serious (what some might call “radical”) Christian discipleship. All three of us have been challenged and encouraged by the testimony of faithful witnesses, throughout history, who have dared to take seriously both the teaching and the example of Jesus, irrespective of the cost. We are humbled by their example, and it provokes in us a desire to emulate their faithfulness in our own attempts to follow Jesus. That conviction will come through in our preaching.
If at all possible, we hope to secure a meeting place in a facility already owned by an existing church. Our reasoning here is simple. We are not in competition with other churches. We want to join the church community in a partnership that will advance the Gospel of the Kingdom. Moreover, we have determined to set a definite limit on the duration of this series of meetings to make it clear that we are not, in this endeavor, establishing a church. While we certainly hope that this venture will give rise to a church in the future, this initial series of meetings does not constitute the official launch of a church.
I told you that what I would report in this post is still more tentative than definite, but I hope you can sense that progress is being made. I’m sure that, if you have any interest at all in what I have written about here, this post has probably raised questions in your mind. Some of them, such as the details regarding dates and times and meeting place, will be answered here and elsewhere as soon as we can confirm them. You may, however, have specific questions in other areas, and I would be happy to address them by whatever means you think would be most appropriate.
You may raise questions in the “Comments” section following this post. In that case, both your question and my response will be shared with everyone who reads this blog. If you would like a personal reply, please click on the “Contact” button and submit your question or comment there. It will be completely confidential, and I will respond just as quickly as I can.
I recently told a friend of mine that I am too old, too cynical, and have been “burned” too many times to feel genuinely stirring excitement about much of anything anymore. Still, when I consider what these tiny steps might represent in potentiality, I come as close to being excited as it is possible for me to be.
Please let me hear from you if you have comments or questions. Please pray for this endeavor, in any event. And please stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available. And, as always…
Soli Deo Gloria.