"But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God." -2 Corinthians 14-17
Without a doubt, God called my family to be church planters in Nashville. We partnered with Reunion Christian Community almost 2 years ago. And let me be completely honest here, it has not been easy.
Reunion Christian Community is not like your traditional church. We do not have a worship team. We do not pass the offering plate during service. We do not place membership. We do not have a church building. We do not have a fun-filled children's program.
I could go on, but I'm pretty sure that you get the idea.
Reunion is different.
We're a missional community that meets in homes.
We have had to tweak our Sunday gathering. We have had dear people come & go. And we've had our hearts broken more times than I'd like to remember. We've questioned who we are, what we are doing, & why God placed missional communities on our hearts.
But tonight as I sit in my living room, I understand a little of God's heart for us.
I absolutely love the traditional church. But, God did not call my family to start another traditional church in "Bible Belt America". He called us to start a church that looks a little different. And we've listened.
Because we've listened, we've received criticism from a few strangers and from some whom we love. (I will spare the details as I know that most were said out of love.)
Reunion is unattractive.
And right now, Reunion smells.
There are those with wounds that have healed & others whose wounds have rotten. You can not cover their wounds (nor some of mine) by simply handing us a bandaid.
I've quickly learned that it is not just the poor that "smell". Yes, the poor deal with economical poverty, but also struggle with relational poverty. Quite honestly, you don't have to be poor to deal with relational poverty.
Everyone has a wound.
I want to give more than just a hand-out.
I want to do more than just a "feel good" service project.
But, I have had my own struggles with this church model.
It is hard.
It is different.
It is investing in the lives of the hurting.
It is a lifestyle change.
But, I am confident in His leading & will fight for those in our community.
I know how I lived before embarking on this journey of church planting.
Too often, I ignored the very presence of the needy and kept my front door closed.
I have been good at justifying "my" time and "my" money. I am pretty good at using my kids as "excuses" and putting up strong "family boundaries".
I'm ashamed of my heart for passing quick judgment on others. I stand with them in conversation with my brick & mortar in hand.
I am quick to build my wall of defense.
But really, who am I?
I am no better.
I am no different.
These past couple of years, I have been thrown into the fire and refined (several times...I was even thrown in there tonight.)
My heart chooses to lay down the building materials in exchange to give grace.
To love well.
To serve selflessly.
I long for my beautiful home to joyfully welcome the poor in spirit.
To replace the smell of candles for the fragrance of life.
For this home is not my own, but it is His.
And, I pray the aroma will be pleasing to the Lord.