The Joondalup Thing


I don’t often post on The Joondalup Thing these days based on a request by some for me to shut up :)

But in rebellion – I post!

TJT for those wondering, is our little church group in the City of Joondalup…It actually meets weekly in Currambine, not Joondalup, but Currambine is in Joondalup City…. so it counts :)

Starting a church intentionally sounds challenging. Accidentally starting one is even more so! What I mean is that when you set out as a pastor or a group of ‘sent ones’ from some church or denomination to intentionally start a church you usually have a plan, maybe some core values, theological imperatives and the like. Then you set out to a given area (that you have done some demographical study on) and hire a hall, set out your chairs, get a band and away you go. OK maybe you will operate out of a different paradigm to that, but yo uget my drift? This from all reports is hard work!

‘Accidentally’ starting a church, in my opinion is even harder. Trust me, I think we did this. A group of friends…well actually in reflection, not all of us were even what you would call friends, we had some connection with one another, some were very close friends, some had worked with others, some were friends of the friends of those guys. Anyway a group of friends over time were all  thrown together for varying motivations. Some came early when it was a small group attached to Whitford Church, some plugged in later on. Some said early in the piece “this constitutes ‘church’ for me”, others said, “I will go to ‘real church’ on Sunday and come here on Wednesday”. Some said “if this is Church we need more ‘stuff'”. Still others suggested that if we added more ‘stuff’ they would not be comfortable.

Four or so years down the track and it feels a bit more formal than it did back in the begining, yet many still hold to a flexible dream, a loose…dare I say “organic” approach to church. No set leader, no building or fixed liturgy. We have a loose plan of what we will do each week and recently we have gone away on a … again, dare I say … strategic planning weekend!!!

Well it was a weekend at which we dreamed about who we were, what we were about, could we continue with such diversity of theology and opinion and issues and if we did what would it look like?

Well, we did not get through all of those things, but we did manage to discuss some very deep issues, personal issues deeply embedded in the very fabric of what church is (should be?) about.

How is this for one topic;

If I say our church is about “eating food together” as it’s base core value – anyone can come an feel welcome so long as they eat food…at some point in their life :)  BUT it makes moving forward as a group and agreeing on some stuff difficult. Why, I might suggest we study the stories of Jesus, and ‘Abdul’ suggests that he came for the great food, not wanting to ever hear about Jesus.

So we lift the bar a notch and say our group is about loving God and loving others. Good, but what about the fact that any religious person could just about say ‘yes’ to that. So do we lift it higher? But the more we add, the more we restrict. We could go high and say we believe in a trinity God, that His will is revealed in the inerrant scriptures, that … you know?

So I am not telling where we ended, but I am telling you that it was a great ‘chat’!!

One thing that did come out of the weekend was a further 2 nights of discussion.

Night One - We asked on butchers paper the following questions;

  • What do you see as our strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities?
  • At our best, what do we look like?
  • At our worst what do we look like?
  • What would you say are our core values? Practices?
  • In your wildest dreams what do you see for The Joondalup Thing ?

Some great discussion flowed from that night and since.

Night Two – We asked (all, including kids) What would you like to see happen on our fortnightly Sunday gatherings?

There was some wonderful and creative expressions brought forward for our ‘gatherings’ on every second Sunday.

There is still a part of me that wants to ‘package’ this whole thing. For two reason I suggest;

1. So I can have it all neat and tied up with a string to simply give me (others?) boundaries so we know why we are, what we are and where we are going…but maybe God has much of that in hand and I should trust Him more for that rather than making it all up for Him and pretending He led me/us to do as such :)

2. So I can replicate it. I would love to ‘franchise’ this. That is a secular term for multiply, plant, replicate whatever. I just feel that something in there that we have is too good, or could be too good to keep to ourselves, even if it is just ‘the love of God’…I guess people have been trying to ‘package’ that for 2000 years and look where that has got us!! But I would love to see small ‘organic’ relational groups/churches who are committed to loving God and others, following Christ and making a Kingdom difference all over the shop.

Anyway, where are we at? I think we all agree that we are a group of committed friends that dare take up the radical call to live out the Kingdom of God on Earth as taught by Jesus of the Gospels in the midst of the empire! [thanks Lance!]

We will keep working on something like that and see what happens hey?

Ok I know, as my wife reminded me, I did not want a 4×4. I spent my driving life in 4×4’s and have trashed the environment and spent enough money fixing expensive parts and replacing expensive off road tyres… but sometimes it’s all just too attractive! Our church crew had a day in Gidgie yesterday and the boys went off for some male bonding ! jack ran like a dream. Thanks Dave R for the video, love your work. (Sorry about the scratches on your new car Christine :(

Our group (The Joondalup Thing) has many ongoing conversations. In fact one thing I love about our group is the ongoing nature and feel of the group between our more formal (?) gatherings. I would be a rich man if I got a dollar for every email sent during the week between our small group of friends. This week 2 themes have been thrown around at least by a small handful of us.
1. Is God a sexist? (Gender struggles)
2. Do we ‘bring people’ to something, an event a meeting to hear a preacher to meet the pastor? (Is our event any more or less sacred than when I go to my neighbours for coffee?)

David Timms who speaks into our group often via his weekly writings speaks well into some of the issues in this weeks thoughts.

“The Reformation principle of ‘the priesthood of all believers’ … teaches us that ‘the plow boy and the milk maid’ can do priestly work.
But even more profoundly it teaches us that the plow boy in his plowing and the milk maid in her milking are in fact doing priestly work.”
~ Richard Foster, Streams of Living Water, p.266.

Our Priestly Calling

The debate over women in ministry, the practice of only clergy baptizing converts, and the inordinate reverence attributed to the ordained, generally ignores the priesthood of all believers. Gender struggles, class distinctions, and specialist ministries create strange complications for this simple kingdom truth.

More than that, misunderstanding our vocation—our calling—robs us of the rich life Christ intended. Whoever submits to the Lordship of Christ and commits themself by faith to Him has a priestly calling.

The folk who officiate at our worship services and read Scripture at weddings and funerals play a valuable role among us. But if we insist that they alone are “ministers” or “priests” we deny our privilege and neglect our responsibility.

The implications reach far beyond this short reflection, but I suggest at least the following few points to consider.

First, the priesthood of all believers—biblically speaking—has no hierarchy among the believers and no distinctions between young and old, male and female, race, class, or heritage.

Second, the world is our sanctuary for ministry—not a building on Third and Main Streets that we open on Sunday mornings.

Third, it’s not that we sometimes do priestly things (pray, preach, or pastor) but everything we do becomes sacred. Whether we’re balancing budgets for large corporations or babysitting the neighbor’s kids, cooking meals or manufacturing ball-bearings—whatever we do in word or deed is now done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Colossians 3:17)

Fourth, every one of us, at all times, in all places, with all people, function as priests. This is the dream of God. “And I shall make them a kingdom of priests.” (Exodus 19:6; Revelation 1:6; 5:10) That means we constantly highlight the Presence of Christ among us, our hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27) Just as the ancient Jewish priests gathered around the Holy of Holies and helped the people connect with God, so do we, whether we’re driving trucks, tutoring school children, or selling insurance.

We are priests in our work and as we work. If we can grasp the glorious significance of this truth, it will dramatically change our view of ourselves and those around us. The Lord has not called us to occasional sacred tasks. Instead, He desires to sanctify every task in our lives, from writing to wood-working, from plumbing to praying.

The artificial barriers between paid and unpaid kingdom-servants hinders our appropriation of this truth. Every follower of Christ brings the holy place to the world. May we do so more this week and grow in this grace.

In HOPE –
David

Yes we had Nuts and Bolts today. I had a few things on in the morning, but was part of a panel and then did a session in the arvo.
You know, the more I talk about the Joondalup thing, the less ‘sense’ it makes. There is little order, or collective mission, core values written etc etc.
BUT – I do think we have… something, it is unique and every time I out pen to paper so to speak, in order to share about our thing, I get a sense that there is something good in this thing, something of God in it.
Some thing real.

Well before all working together in our own project, The Joondalup Thing practiced on someone else’s garden!
We all did a backyard blitz on a lady’s house around the corner. It was a contact through one of Hamo’s many blitz’s up the road at Upstream, in fact I noticed he had been busy doing similar in one of his recent posts! Our was less…elaborate though!
So, mainly for the benefit of our crew here are some of the snaps – (Click on to enlarge)

Temenos (τέμενος) is a Greek word meaning “Sacred Space”.
I desire our new community garden to be just that, a sacred space in which our lives intersect with each other and with God as we journey together.
Not everyone in our little group in the northern suburbs will be keen gardeners, but my prayer is that we all might discover a safe, even sacred space in this dedicated block of land in Joondalup. Maybe a place of prayer, work, worship, mate-ship, a place of service and community – who knows!

Presently it is a pile a weeds, black sand and rubble.
Presently we are a confused group of dreamers not too sure if this dream will become anything like we have dreamed about, but willing to give it a go and willing to make the construction stage just as important as the ongoing seasonal stages of sowing and reaping.

We have decided to create a separate blog mainly for people connected to the garden in some way shape or another.
So if the community garden thing presses you buttons have a look.

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.