Dave Brisbin 7.11.21
We are fast on track to becoming a post-Christian country. Recent stats show that only 36% of the youngest among us, Millennials and Gen Z, have any church membership as opposed to Boomers at 58% and those born before 1946 at 66%. There is a generational changing of the guard, and for the first time, less than half the population are members of a church. Only one in three self-identified Christians actually attends church, and between four and seven thousand churches are closing every year.

Mere statistics can’t convey the very human anger, disgust, disillusionment, or apathy that accompanies these numbers, and many church leaders blame “cultural decay” or “changing values” for the decline. But others say those are just symptoms—that the cause is the loss of our first love, our passion for our faith. But why have we lost our passion? Is there a deeper cause for that as well? Viktor Frankl taught that all human life is pointed at meaning. With meaning, life is passionate and alive, because ultimate meaning is love.

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By the first century, Judaism had become a legal institution and had lost the ability to guide its people to ultimate meaning in life. Jesus rose up to revive it by breaking through institutional walls and back to meaning. By the fourth century the Church had become a state religion that simply demanded conformity to its own orthodoxy. The Desert Fathers and Mothers rose to revive it by creating their own communities pointed at meaning. By the twelfth century the church was the most powerful political force in the West, but Francis of Assisi rose to quietly start a revival, a movement that exposed the meaninglessness of the church’s power and gave meaning to the Reformation to come.

Five hundred years after the Reformation, the church has now been institutionalized for centuries, again demanding its own orthodoxy rather than guiding people to meaning. In the panic of seeing Christianity fade, there are many calls for revival, but most often they are calls to double down and shore up the traditional institution. The youngest among us have already declared with their feet that such institutions don’t answer their deepest questions of meaning. A real revival, one that can revive a fading church, is one that goes all the way back to Jesus or at least Francis, freeing people to find their way to meaning, to love, in all their circumstances. Only such people can create a church that inspires the passion of the search for ultimate meaning.

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Everyone is recovering from something… Admitting this is the first step in spiritual life, because any unfinished business in our lives–trauma, unforgiveness, fear-based perceptions–fosters compulsive behavior and keeps us from connecting spiritually and emotionally.

Since we’re all recovering, we accept everyone right as they are—no expiration dates or deadlines. We don’t tell anyone what to believe or do. We present points of view that we hope will engage seekers in their own journey; help them unlearn limiting perceptions, beliefs, and compulsions; give opportunities to get involved in community, building the trust we all need to find real identity, meaning, and purpose. In other words, to engage the transforming Way of living life that Jesus called Kingdom…non-religiously understood from a first century Hebrew point of view.

 

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Embedded in the fun and laughter of each of our gatherings and events is the connection and accountability as well as the structure, discipline, and opportunity for service that authentic community is all about. We help create programs for physical support, emotional recovery, and spiritual formation that can meet any person’s needs. Such programs work at two levels: first to address a person’s physical and emotional stability—clinical, financial, relational,professional—anything that distracts from working on the second level: true spiritual formation centered around the contemplative way of life defined by an original Hebrew understanding of the message of Jesus.

Rather than telling people what to believe or think, we model and encourage engagement in a personal and communal spiritual journey that allows people to experience their own worthiness of connection and acceptance, to find the freedom from underlying fears that brings real meaning and purpose into focus.

 

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Seeing ourselves as a learning and recovery community that worships together, the focus isn’t on Sunday morning alone, but on every day of the week as we gather for worship, healing and support workshops, studies, 12 step meetings, counseling and mentoring sessions, referral services, and social events. We maintain a food pantry for those needing more support, a recovery worship gathering, and child care for those with little ones.

Our Sunday gathering starts at 10AM and our Recovery gathering on Tuesdays at 7PM. Both gatherings include worship with one of the best worship bands in the area. See our monthly calendar and our Facebook page to stay in touch with what is happening each week. You can also sign up on our elist for email enews updates.

 

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