|this picture has nothing to do with house church - beyond the fact that we ate treats and drank coffee|
A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I finally got into a House Church through Solid Rock. When I first started going to SR they were in the midst of making a big shift - going from a church with House Churches to a church of House Churches.
Realizing that the early church was built on men and women who opened their homes as places where believers could come together and simply worship and live life together was the driving force. They urged everyone to think about the simple, everyday things we all do together everyday anyway and use that as the foundation to build a House Church on. A group of friends who get together for dinner once a week? There you go! You and your neighbors are banding together to save an arts program at the local school? Perfect! Or maybe a group of you just get together to read the bible and talk about life, shoot the breeze? Done and done.
(this is one of the things I love about SR - they are continuously going back into the scriptures to re-examine the word in order to understand, and make sure we're interpreting things the best way, even if that means changing everything! I love that they don't make the word conform to them)
Anyway, months and months had gone by and I kept finding reasons to not get into an HC. I'd love to say even one of them was halfway valid, but really? I was just scared. It had taken me so long to even find a church that I loved, and I hadn't been in an HC since college so I suppose I wasn't feeling too optimistic.
But finally I realized enough was enough. God put it on my heart to get off my keester and take the leap. I've had a lot on my mind the past couple months and it was finally at the point where I needed somewhere to turn, a community of people who could help guide me and navigate through faith and life.
So I emailed one of the leaders, Dave, to get some info. Most of the groups have a very specific missions (and all across the board, too: gardening, newlyweds, basketball teams, etc.) but his seemed more "generic". An "open to everyone" kind of thing.
Uh, yes please!
I got the who-what-when-where and was all set to go.
First Monday of every month.
April 2nd, I was...
All day I was anxious, wound up like an eight day clock.
Would they like me? Would I feel out of place? Would it be weird to just show up at this person's house having never met them?
I felt like a little kid nervous about the first day of kindergarten, worried no one would share their crayons.
(ok, in reality, I knew it wouldn't really be that way, I'd met enough wonderful people at SR to know there was no pretense, no feigned kindness or anything of the sorts)
So after work I navigated back to Portland and to a house about five minutes from my own.
Dave had told me things got going around 7pm and I was trying to find a good balance of early-but-not-too-early. Arriving too early would be awkward but I wanted to make sure I was one of the first people there so there wasn't already a house full of strangers for me to walk into.
(how dare you say I overthink things!)
Of course, the minute I walked in my fears were assuaged.
I was met by Dave and greeted warmly and sincerely. His wife Cheryl took over introductions and I met a handful of the other folks including Paul and Rose, whose home it was (Dave is the leader, but Paul and Rose are the hosts).
Rose was just finishing up brewing some coffee as everyone else trickled in. Other than introducing myself and getting the "get-to-know-you" questions out of the way, I never once felt like an outsider. It was so easy to just fit right in with the group (about twenty or so people ranging from their 20s-60s).
These were real people; people with wicked senses of humor, generous spirits, and a general love of coffee. And food.
(I know now that it's potluck style - these people like their food... I'm in!)
The evening went on for a couple of hours, talking and praying in a big group then drifting into smaller groups of 4-5 to talk more in depth about things on our minds and hearts. We had the opportunity to open up and share things about our lives, pray for each other and just live together, even if just for two hours or so.
I left that night on one of the most amazing highs I've ever experienced. I couldn't get over how happy and completely filled with God's love I was! I could feel something changing in me, a guard letting down, a wall crumbling from around my heart.
(I wrote more about what happened next here)
But most of all, I left wishing they met more than once a month.
There are some truly amazing people in this world; people willing to open not just their homes but their hearts to a complete stranger. They create a community of faith and love and support.
It's pretty cool.
And I'm happy to be a part of it.