Navigating the modern church culture can be a difficult task. Years ago as a young couple with a heart for ministry we started out with great hope and vision for all the things God would do in and through the Church. The high expectations of God doing great things wasn’t a negative character trait but we were very naive, inexperienced and unprepared for what would meet us along the road.
The thing about inexperience is that it lets you get into situations that provide you with what you didn’t know you needed to know. As we were around different churches and ministry organizations we did get to participate in some truly great things of God. However as we look back we can see the effects of simply being around when imperfect people make foolish decisions that have destructive consequences. When we were young and naïve our inexperience with such things lead to disappointments which in the long run brought forth a great amount of disillusionment.
In the natural maturation process we would enter into seasons of trying to gain understanding of what we had encountered–no less disillusioned but attempting to gain wisdom. However, along with gaining wisdom and understanding our expectations of what would naturally occur within a church or ministry environment were hindered by a sense of hopelessness and heart sickness.
The scripture that comes to mind states “the ways of a man seem good to him but it only leads to death.” In an era steeped with cynicism and disillusionment a humanistic disdain for things of God seems almost at times the popular motif, that if one doesn’t possess a story of the failures of the church to meet personal need they themselves are seen as culturally irrelevant. We have only found that giving into those ideas and that way of thinking really do lead to death. We could seem wise in our own eyes and really we were just steeped neck deep in despair .
We were in need for God to restore to us His hope for His Bride. Even as we tried on our own to overcome bitterness and anger, our hopes to find fulfillment with a body of people who believed were slim. It wasn’t good enough for the Lord for us to just come to a place where we would experience relief from our pain, He wanted to fully redeem our experience with church and church culture and those that lead it. The depth of redemption that God wanted to do for us wasn’t something He would do outside of our actual participation within a community of believers. In order to restore our hope and even our innocence what He was going to do was going to have to be done within a body.
In our travels and circles of relationships, we would see pockets and glimpses of what we longed to see. Yet the restoration of deep hope would only come to us as we saw what we desired expressed through a local church body that we could be a part of week after week. For us this occurred at Renovatus, a place that has great value for church culture to be relevant and vibrant inside and outside the walls of the church building. Upon Renovatus and especially Jonathan, there is an anointing to break off disillusionment from believers who have seen one to many things gone wrong.
We believe that this is something that God longs to do everywhere. As we are seeing Him act upon the community of Renovatus we see the redemption of church culture. Now we look at our experience and are grateful for the wisdom that has been attained throughout it all, but we have also had our innocence and hope renewed. A man and a community of faith can truly spark a revolution in culture when, through both liturgy and passion, they take seriously the call to live their lives out together…both the good and the bad, not hiding either one but embracing both weakness and strength, success and failure–changing the essence of the conversation.
Jim and Mims Driscoll direct Stir the Water, a ministry designed to help people grow in their prophetic gifting, and are active members of Renovatus: A Church for People Under Renovation.