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.”)

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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

Big news, Big fears and lots of feels.

I think that some of the best news you ever get to announce in life is usually two parts excited and one part scary.  Like pregnancy or a book deal or a big kid job… exciting but, pretty scary and fraught with thoughts of inadequacy.

I have news like that, news I’ve had to keep under wraps for a bit… while things became a little more…. official.

Our family is planting a church.  Technically Kel is, as it’s going to be his full time work, but this sort of thing is best done as a family endeavor.  

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It’s a church replant in downtown Grand Rapids, in a 100 year old building that is sitting empty right now. All except the food pantry in the basement (something which makes me feel better about everything)

We’re going to be moving to an area where the schools are a little sketchy and I won’t be able to leave my car keys in the ignition anymore.

And I’ll be an official pastor’s wife, with all the expectations and feelings that go with that and trust me when I say that I am feeling all. the. feels.

This journey doesn’t kick off until January, so right now we sit in a time of in-between, more optimistically a time of preparation… I guess. Kel is so ready to start the somedays I wonder if his head is going to explode with excitement and really beautiful, tender, God-given ideas.

Even among the scariest moments of anxiety over this church planting journey, I believe that God is working through Kel. That He is in this.  It gives me something to hang onto when the ride feels a little too wild and I sort of want to get off.  

Some moments I wonder why the city needs another church just like most days I wonder why the internet needs another blogger. Some days my melancholy gets me all “lamentations-ey” and I start in with the “meaningless, meaningless… a chasing after the wind” talk.

Other days I yell at Kel and tell him that our family isn’t strong enough to do this right now.  Although in my bones I truly believe that God calls us to do the hardest tasks when we feel the least equipped, the weakest, the most wobbly.

I know that we’re experiencing an attack of sorts. I hate even writing about that because so many of us got SO SICK of that phrase and concept: “I feel like the enemy is really trying to attack us right now.”

But does that mean that it stopped being true? Continue reading