Because I Can

I have some things on my mind and on my heart that I need to let go of.  And since this is my blog and I can do and say whatever I please–here goes.  (This is going to be long and emotional so bear with me!).

I am tired of Christians that just don’t get it.  For those that don’t know, my hubby and I moved to our current location almost 9 years ago to start a church with some friends from college.  We had no idea what we were doing or what we were getting into and in the course of 9 years, God has taught us SO much about ourselves and other people.

About 18 months ago, our traditional “Sunday morning” church transitioned to a network of smaller churches–also called house or micro-churches.  And ever since then we’ve been dealing with people that just don’t get it.  They don’t understand our vision or our mission.  They don’t understand why we do things the way we do.  Are we a “normal” church?  No.  Are we a relevant church filled with people who love God and love others?  Absolutely YES.  We take care of one another.  We pray for one another.  When one of us hurts, we all hurt.  When one is rejoicing, we all rejoice!  (I’m starting to hear that Pointer Sister’s song in my head–“We are family . . !”). 

Recently we have been confronted with people–all Christians–that totally don’t understand the micro church concept.  And yet again today I was reminded (and offended) by yet another Christian who just doesn’t undertand.  Seriously the person made me cry because I felt like we were being looked down on and that we basically are not a legitimate church because we don’t run 1000 members and we don’t have a “normal service” to invite people to.  I ran into the same type of thing a few weeks ago from another Christian.   

Aaron preached at a church that we attended while we were in college a few weeks ago.  After the service the minister was asking me about our plans for starting another network of house churches (we are moving to NC next year to do this). He said, “So Aaron’s just going to be moving from full time ministry to doing it part time now?”. I just said, “Yeah.” My answer I wanted to say was that our LIVES are a 24/7 “ministry”. We want every part of our life to be a ministry–and if God is calling us to return to a ‘secular’ job and lifestyle then that is what we are going to do.  We don’t compartmentalize our lives into “ministry time”, “job time”, and “family time”.  It is all blended together and it is our hope that we are fulfilling our life’s mission–to love God, love people and serve the world.  

Why are we choosing to give up paid ministry?  Why would Aaron go to college for 4 years, rack up student loan debt that has taken us 9 years to pay off just to get a secular job that has nothing at all to do with his college degree?  Because God wants us to.  God is calling us to do this.  We are confident that God wants us to surround ourselves with broken people.  He wants us to be in the midst of the lost.  He wants us to redeem unholy places back to him.  He wants us to do this.  He is calling us to do this.  The easy thing to do is to tell Him “no” and let Aaron find a nice comfortable church to serve at.  He could write his three point sermon every week, teach Bible study on Wednesday night, kiss a lot of butt to keep everyone happy and get paid lots of money to do it.  We’d be secure financially but would Aaron, or I, be happy?  Would we feel that we were able to minister in the way God is calling us to in that type of setting?  That would be a resounding NO. 

Our most often asked question about moving is, “So has Aaron found a church to go to?”  Then I have to explain it all to them and they act surprised.  Someone even said, “That’s kind of sad.”  I thought, no, it’s totally NOT sad.  It’s awesome!  So please, don’t discount Aaron because he chooses to NOT get paid for his Kingdom work.  God has not called everybody to be a “professional Christian.”  There are a lot of people out there reaching lost people for Christ that are not getting a paycheck for it every week.  We want to tell and show people that you don’t have to go to a 4 year Bible College to lead people to Christ.  That you don’t have get paid for leading a church.  That you can glorify and serve God without getting a paycheck for it.  Aaron can still be a pastor without getting paid for it!!!  His ministry to others is absolutely legitimate whether he gets paid to write fancy sermons or he serves up coffee at Starbucks. 

I take much offense to people that berate my husband and his life’s work.  I think that is why I got so offended today.  When I read this person’s e-mail, I got the idea from him that he felt that our work wasn’t important because we don’t have a church of 1000 people.  Basically, that we were wasting our time doing this.  Tell that to Heather.  And Reber.  And Wendy and Shelby and any other person that attends Discovery.  THEY are important to God.  THEY are important to us and I am thankful everyday that God led us to this place because of THEM.  They are changed and are continuing to be transformed.  And I don’t care if all our work was for 1000 people, or 10 people.  In fact, the last 9 years would have been worth it all if it was only for ONE person.  You know why?  Because that one person would matter to GOD.

I don’t want to argue or debate with anyone.  I don’t want to offend anyone.  I just want wish that Christians didn’t have to argue about what method is best, what type of service is going to reach the most people, which person’s ministry is most “legit”.  Because we’re all working towards the same goal and that is showing Christ’s love to the world.    

OK, off my soap box now.  This has been an emotional week for me and I have had some serious blog posts.  Hopefully next week I can get back to blogging about other lighter things.  Like my painting project for this weekend!  And maybe I’ll even throw in a recipe or two just to lighten it up a bit around here at Counting My Pennies!

6 Responses to “Because I Can”

  1. 1 Aaron November 6, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    I love you so much, babe. Thanks for going on this crazy adventure with me. I’m looking forward to “tent making” in NC and continuing this adventure from God with you.

  2. 2 Heather November 7, 2008 at 7:30 am

    We are all called to be ministers, 24/7, using whatever platform He gives us to share His love, hope and the plan of salvation. He also calls us to take care of our families, they are our #1 ministry…You get it…And I’m so glad that you do. Very few do or ever will. We will be persecuted, misunderstood and mocked…Carry on…You are following after HIS heart, and very few will ever choose to come with. If we waited for their approval or blessing, we would waste our lives away…I am telling myself this as I type it to you. Besides, with the way that things are going in this country, we will NEED small home churches to keep us alive in the future…Love you! Hang in there! I’m sorry these times are so painful.

  3. 3 lsaufley November 7, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Thanks Heather B! You are my Barnabas. : ) I don’t mind mockery or persecution from non-Christians because, well, they are lost and don’t know any better. It’s the grief we get from other Christians that bothers me. We should all be in this togeter and we should all accept each others methods (as long as we are staying true to the doctrine of the scriptures). But sadly, that isn’t happening and reaching the lost is becoming a competition.

    Thanks again for your encouragement! We totally need to get together soon. I haven’t seen you in forever!

  4. 4 Melissa November 7, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Okay, I have to say I don’t get the ridicule you are getting from others. I mean seriously, I never once read in the Bible, you know the NT, about the mega-churches! They met in homes not fancy church buildings! Sounds to me like you guys are going back to the basics!

    What you and Aaron are doing is totally awesome! I am in awe of your commitment to lost souls and I am honored to know you both and to watch you in this journey. You guys have such a huge heart for lost souls and making sure the Great Commission is fulfilled. I can’t understand why anyone would question or look down on you. This is your mission field. I mean, seriously, every time you walk out your door you are walking onto the mission field. It doesn’t have to be in a foreign country to be a mission. The people here need Jesus too.

    I am grateful for the work and the sacrifices you and Aaron have made and continue to make to honor God and glorify Him. I look forward to seeing this journey that God has led you both on. You guys are already doing great things for the kingdom and the future is going to be amazing too! Love you guys and praying for you!!

  5. 5 Cribb November 8, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Yeah, and a big *expletive* to those who don’t think it is “important” because now my husband (and his best friend…and eventually more people)will be in heaven with me. What rocks more than that? Just because a church has 1000 people does not mean it is changing lives.

  6. 6 Jenny November 8, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Hey Laura. From this non-Christian who is “lost and [doesn’t] know any better”, it sounds like you and Aaron are following your hearts and loving others, which is pretty much what Jesus was getting at. Kudos to you for stepping out there and doing what is true to you. That is the essence of life.

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November 2008

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