You Are Not Meant to Go It Alone
Christianity is a group project. It was never meant to be a personal, private endeavor that you can undertake while remaining at a distance from others. We are meant to worship together, pray together, sing together, play together, and struggle together.
When Jesus said, “And lo, I will be with you until the end of the age,” he wasn’t offering a spiritual platitude. The Holy Spirit dwells in the believer, making every believer a carrier of his presence. I don’t just experience the presence of Christ in a spiritual sense, I also experience the presence of Christ through your presence. You are not meant to go it alone.
This applies to the individual as well as the local church as a family unit. Before joining Confluence, Living Hope Church had been going it alone for a little while. It’s a long story that I don’t mind telling if the coffee is hot and my shoes are off, but the short version is familiar enough to many. We were part of a church movement with similar origins as Confluence, beginning around the same time in the southeastern USA. Living Hope Church was a church plant in the early 90’s from one of the original congregations in our network of churches.
As our network grew, disunity crept in and created challenges that eventually caused the network to fold. That left us feeling a bit like a church without a country. We still had some good relationships with apostolic leaders and we had a strong elder team, which gave us some stability. But there was no sense of belonging to something greater than the sum of its parts. Suddenly, we were going it alone.
After about five years of frontier churching and deciding that going it alone is only good for Rambo and John Wayne, I began to look for a new home for Living Hope Church. I kicked the tires all over the internet, read a lot of books, went to some conferences, but what I found was disappointing. I wanted a group that acted like a family, believed like Calvinists, worshipped like Charismatics, and did so while maintaining a rabid desire to take over the world. Apparently, I was asking for a lot, because that combination turned out to be about as rare as spotting a three-toed leprechaun riding a unicorn to the other side of a double rainbow. On a leap year.
I had been aware of Confluence and Newfrontiers for a number of years from various acquaintances, books I had read, and conference messages I had heard. So I began to re-acquaint myself with Confluence. When I discovered that there were some Confluence churches in the Southeast, I reached out and met Carl Herrington on the phone.
From that point forward, it was a bit like going on a series of awkward and exciting blind dates. But at every turn, it has also been like taking a long drink of cool water after a day in the heat. What I have found over and over is people who genuinely care about me and also care about the people I love. The precious people that make up Living Hope Church have been blessed and cared for. I’ve have made new friends, and found new people to look up to when I didn’t know I needed more of either.
Living Hope Church is no longer going it alone, and we are grateful.