When working for the church feels like working for the enemy.

(Two months ago I announced our family’s church planting journey. Check out this post for specifics, I will be putting up a tab on all of this soon.  Many readers from twitter and facebook have said they would like to follow along on all of this. So, I will writing about church planting once a week, usually Saturdays, for the immediate future so you can see what it’s like to start a church (or restart one) from scratch. Some of these posts will be “this is how it’s going” and some of them will be more “this is how it feels.”)


In six weeks Kel will have his first day of work as the Lead pastor of the a church restart on Plainfield in downtown Grand Rapids. No, we don’t have a name for it yet, yes I will be writing about that, yes it’s driving me crazy.

Before we get started on all this, I need to fill you in on foundational secret of mine.

Sometimes, when I tell people we’re starting a church or that I’m a pastor’s wife I feel shame.  Yes, shame.

Because sometimes, it feels like I’m working for the enemy.

Which is terribly awful when you follow the church back to the beginning. It started as revolutionary good news, and it still is, it’s just buried under centuries of painful human error.

One of the more recent ones has been turning Jesus-following into a cardboard way of life, flat and plastered with easy answers and cheap clichés.

I have more than a few friends who have walked away from church since high school because they’ve been burned, hurt, clichéd and cast out.  And I ache for them, I hate what they went through.

It’s hard to tell them that we’re starting a church after they pour out their hearts about how one certain church has nearly ruined them for God. Sometimes I’m tempted to lie about Kel’s new job, because I get it and I don’t want to associate with the places that caused their pain.

The places that made something so deeply real and organic feel like a cheap, plastic chotchkie.

Because I know that clichés don’t help you when it all falls apart and eventually, it always, always does. If the church isn’t somewhere we can go with our broken anger, if it’s not a place that can welcome us with our worst mistakes… then I understand why they left. Continue reading