So, after publishing my last post, I decided a little background info might be helpful for those who don’t know the whole story.
We left Abundant Life about 2 1/2 years ago to serve with a much smaller congregation. Even though we made great friends there, it was not a good cultural fit for us. We left that group in June 2009 and have been having and “out of church” experience ever since.
Not that we ever stopped attending services–Greg actually preached in various congregations on the average of twice a month. He “filled the pulpit” for 6 weeks at a wonderful church in Walla Walla, Washington–they asked him to come and be their pastor, but God just never gave us peace (and Danielle got slightly hysterical every time we mentioned moving).
So we stayed put, Greg working happily at his non-profit organization. When he wasn’t preaching, we visited different churches in the area, trying to find a community of believers where we fit and felt connected. We loved The Well, the church Danielle and Krispin attend in north Portland, but we really felt we needed to attend a fellowship in our own community.
This past June, we decided to go back to Abundant Life. It occurred to Greg and me, almost simultaneously, that our closest friends–the people we did life with–fellowshipped there. Abundant Life folks came to our parties, invited us over for dinner, made us laugh, prayed with and for us, loved and supported our daughters and walked with us through hard times.
In fact, we were at dinner with George and Ann–after they’d come to the hospital to pray for Danielle and her unborn baby–when George brought up the idea of Greg coming back on staff as the Parkrose campus pastor.
And it just made sense, in that crazy-cool, God-kind-of-way! And after several weeks of seeking and prayer, we accepted . . .
One of the questions I asked God during our time of seeking was this: “Can a highly-organized, mega-church support smaller, organic communities?” Just watching our different church friends doing life together for the glory of God provided the answer I sought. Abundant Life isn’t about the building or the programs or the music or even the preaching . . . it’s about the families and friends and small groups who are intentionally trying to follow the Lamb, being His hands and feet–and heart–in their communities.
I’m really excited about the book our small group (led by the Powells) is studying--Radical, by David Platt (subtitled, “Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream). Platt challenges believers to live life according to Christ’s example, rather than conforming to the prevailing culture. I’m looking forward to walking out what we are learning in the context of community.
And, I’m really, really glad to be home . . .
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