Church in a school? What ever happened to separation of church and state? Replanting our church in Gresham Middle School has felt somewhat awkward from the start. Don’t get me wrong. I feel incredibly blessed to be renting such amazing facilities at such a reasonable price. The principal and Knox county school system has welcomed us with open arms.
We left our friendly confines on Cedar Lane not because we were uncomfortable. We possibly were invited by God to leave precisely because we were too comfortable. Its nice walking into a facility paid for by the consistent and faithful giving of God’s people through the years. Its comfortable to enjoy one’s favorite parking space and padded seat. Dad gum it. Its just nice to be comfortable.
Its a little tough for me to watch the same people set up and tear down every week in unfamiliar environs. Our team is efficient and faithful, and few. Those who come for service don’t know three hour drill that takes place for every hour and half service.
The workers don’t complain, but I wonder if some silently pine for the comforts of “home”. We had a meeting a couple of weeks ago where we debated the pros and cons of staying at Gresham or going home. Two groups argued the merits of Gresham Middle School. Two groups argued the merits of returning to Cedar Lane.
A consensus developed. The consensus, however, did not form around either opinion. The consensus formed around being content wherever God calls us. The consensus formed around around a real sense that God has called us on mission together f”or such a time as this”. The discussion exercise was great! It reminded us that we have to be light on our feet and ready to pull up stakes at a moments notice when moved by the fiery cloud.
My feeling over the next couple of weeks since our meeting is that our church should go nowhere until God’s Presence directs us. Leaving Gresham too soon could mean leaving his Presence. I’ve listened to stories from church members talk about how they don’t feel like they are at a school on Sundays and don’t feel like leaving the building on some days because God’s Presence is resting on us. It is hard work being at the school and sometimes uncomfortable, but God often works best outside the margins of the zone of our comfort.
For now it seems the fiery cloud of God’s favor is still resting on us at Gresham. For as long as God has us here, lets see what amazing things God might do. Find ways in which you can help us. Join a set up and tear down team. Let’s share the burden and lets all enjoy the benefits.
I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I believe God’s Word for today is “stay”