At Lux Central coffee house. Saw the man in front of me have a paste put in his coffee so I asked for the same. The lady behind the counter said it was a house-made espresso whip. She said I'd like it. She was right.
It's 7:10am on Sunday. Steph's working. Last night we attended Jonathan Cottrell's church. 30 people in a living room, seeking the Lord.
Spirit-given visions and pictures, left and right. There must have been 50 -- all knit together and interrelated.
No format, no "leader", no program, no instruments or script. Just a group of believers sitting in a circle, seeking the Lord. Afterwards, Jonathan told me there were 3 "tenets" to the church (not going to say these perfectly) - Jesus is Head, Everybody Contributes, and We are a Healthy Family.
I couldn't tell you when it began and when it ended. We just started praying. Kids yelling in the background, loving jokes sprinkled in. Crying out to the Lord, laying on of hands, the declaration of Scripture. I was enrapt.
I'd "led" something similar in college -- Surrender was a Friday night gathering of students and surrendered time to the Lord to follow the Holy Spirit and whatever He'd lead us to do. What I experienced last night was the mature, emboldened version of Surrender.
The most bizarre thing was the "end" never happened. People just stood up and helped themselves to the potluck. My wife and I received prayer and words of encouragement from Jonathan and his wife. Afterwards, I went up to a guy and asked how he knew when it ended.
He said it doesn't. "Fellowshipping with God and each other isn't confined to a set, organized period of time," he said. "It's all church."
Then I saw it. This is what decompartmentalization of faith looks like. No one performed. No one controlled. It was purely a group of brothers and sisters following the Spirit, in love with Jesus, submitting to scripture.
It was uncomfortable at times but I loved it. I asked Jonathan, "What would you say to the, for lack of a better term, "usual church-goer"? I could see them being pretty anxious in a setting like this."
"This is not for everyone," he said. "But I would ask them why? Why is it uncomfortable? Because they're not used to it? Because it's not how it's always been?"
"Do you think other churches are doing it wrong?"
"Not at all," he said. "Christ enjoys all parts of his body. He uses every part of it for his glory."
Then he said something profound.
"This church wasn't born in reaction to something. We don't huddle around and complain about how we were all 'hurt' by another church. No, in fact, I LOVE other churches."
He handed me a book by Frank Viola. Finding Organic Churches. "This captures the essence of what we're doing."
"We're following after Jesus in the way we believe scripture tells us to in Ephesians 5 and 1 Corinthians 14."
My wife and I left with big smiles and full hearts. It's amazing how the Lord leads us to raw and real community almost everywhere we go. Brad and AOX in Grove City, Sojourn in Johnson City, and Thursday Night Worship in DC. Now, this.
If you're reading this and you have more questions (I know church can be a touchy subject), I'd be happy to chat or introduce you to Jonathan. The conversation would be worth every minute.