Sunday, January 14, 2007

From Mega to Micro Church- All in a Day

This morning, I got up and went to the Vineyard with the family. I then came home, grabbed a quick bowl of instant Oatmeal and boogied over to Nexus, the micro-church I have been attending. It's an interesting contrast. I never really wanted to attend a mega church anyway. But, we ended up at the Vineyard because of the people there, the music and the casual atmosphere (the first casual church I had ever been to). Now, almost 10 years later, I'm ready to move on. The church has truly become a mega church (it had a much smaller feel in our old building many years ago) and the theology that once only mildly aggravated me (or so I thought) has become less and less tolerable to me.

I never thought I'd want to attend a micro church either. If it weren't for the family, I probably would have stopped attending church at all a few months ago (or gone to the Quaker church). The idea of home church doesn't appeal to me, really. But, there are some definite advantages to the micro church. I already feel more in "community" on Sunday morning at the micro church that I ever did at even the 8:30am (the most sparsely attended) service at the mega church. The fact that we (the congregation) have the opportunity to interact with each other and the pastor during the service (as limited as it might be) is a huge thing for me. The pastor has left room for questions/comments at the end of his sermons. The other really big thing, that has nothing to do with size of church, is the micro church is progressive. When we started attending the Vineyard so many years ago, if there were any progressive churches in Cincinnati, I had never heard of them or I would have been all over that.

I'm not sure what's going to happen with this. Attending both places hasn't been so bad, for a while. But, it's not something I want to keep doing. My wife is perfectly happy at the mega church and hates change. She said to me today that she thought once you chose a religion you were supposed to stick with it for life. She's already changed from being Catholic. (I'm not sure why she equates changing churches with changing religions). I'm just the opposite. I don't want to church hop. But, I feel that we should always be spiritually seeking and growing. Inevitably, that's going to lead us to outgrow some things and possibly some places (and even some people). I want to be accommodating to her (and have been). But, I can't keep going through the motions there.


Matt said...

Brian, with all due respect to your wife, I have to agree with you. Spiritual growth leads us to lots of different places in our lives; I've been an Episcopalian my entire life, but I've come close to joining other denominations several times in my life.

- Matt

julieunplugged said...

Hi Brian.

I will be interested to talk with you about the micro church more. I attended the first week and haven't felt like I could go back... but perhaps I should give it a second chance. I just don't know.

Love the photo. It's great.

Sandie said...

Wow, I could say, what Matt said (lol) I am also a lifelong Episcopalian, yet I have come real close to switching over to Judaism, to Greek Orthodox and even now my beliefs push the boundries of my faith, but luckily my faith has stretchy boundries :)

Paul said...

Hi Brian,

It the Quaker on line.

My Quaker sometimes has less the
one or three folks on sunday.

I made a big and hard decision
to start attending the early
service at the local UCC Church.

The issues are not just the numbers but many times the lack of community.

I plan to try to attend Quaker at least once month.

Christianity for me can be sum up in one word Incarnation.

The Word for me becomes incarnate in the breaking of bread and in the sharing of the one cup, (yes, I am High Church Friend who continues to partake in the sacraments)
and the silence of Meeting for Worship.

But I also find the Word in the words of the mission statement from Los Angeles Catholic Worker,

We are called to make the Word of God flesh by responding to the suffering Christ incarnate among our poor and marginalized sisters and brothers.

The homeless, the addict, the mentally ill, the AIDS victim, the infirm, the politically and culturally oppressed are the ones who Christ has told us will be first in His Kingdom.

If we too desire to become citizens of His Kingdom, then we must live our lives in proximity to and in solidarity with those who are at the margins of our society”.

Marcus Borg who says" frequently discusses the concept of “thin places”: where heaven and Earth seem more intimately linked, where our souls can experience God’s presence through the Holy Spirit

The Breaking of bread, The Holy Silence, Working for peace and justice,for me becomes these thin and sacramental places where heaven and earth seem more intimately linked.

This revise prayer from the catholic liturgy is on my blog,

In the silence-eucharist you feed your people and strengthen them in holiness, so that the family of humankind may come to walk in the light of one faith, in one communion of love.

We come then to the silence-eucharist to be fed at your table and grow into the likeness of your Spirit.


pj said...

Hi Brain,
I been catching up on your Blog.
I was very happy to read that
your family has joined the UCC Church.
As a Christian and one who
attends a Quaker Meeting that meets
in a UCC Church, I find the
UCC a very affirming place.