From the Porch

Two big-name blogs I read this morning unintentionally connect. Perhaps unexpectedly.

For many years I repeated what Peter Wagner said: Jesus Followers will have five home churches each of which will bring something unique. Given TV and Internet, that is easy. We connected last weekend with 5 churches that combined about 200,000 in physical attendance.

The first blog is about why people are not going to church as often—even the “faithful” ones. Follow the link if you want the reasoning behind the reasons:

  1. Greater affluence—more options
  2. Higher focus on kids activities—traveling sports teams: always on Sunday
  3. More travel
  4. Blended and single families—“It’s the kids’ weekend to be with….”
  5. Online options—“I’ll listen as I jog.”
  6. Cultural disappearance of guilt.
  7. Self-directed spirituality
  8. Failure to see direct benefit
  9. Valuing attendance over engagement
  10. Massive cultural shift.

Those are not excuses for non-interested, I saw the “ten” happening with people who care and love “church” and many who really love Kingdom.

The same writer, pastor, jack-of-many-gifts, Carey Nieuwhof wrote how he recovered from his own burnout.

The blog is written from the view of leadership, pastoral at that, but non-preacher types burn out in the clinical sense as well. The answer is not going to church more, nor is burnout caused by going to church too much (depends!)

I’ve been thinking lately about an ex-military guy in New York State who was the executive manager of a church where we did a weekend. He was really disgusted (wasn’t the word he used!) that the preacher brought us in without his permission to talk about burnout and depression. He is never depressed! He said. Probably because he has a liquid coping mechanism that keeps him from feeling anything most of the time. Not everyone I know who borders on or is burned out drinks or takes pills to fight off the feelings.

In the event you will not follow the link, let me list the “12 Keys….”

  1. Tell someone.
  2. Get help
  3. Lean into your friends
  4. Keep leaning into God
  5. Rest
  6. Find something to take your attention away from your pain
  7. Do what you can
  8. Don’t do anything drastic or stupid
  9. Trust again.
  10. Closely monitor balance
  11. Watch for the warning signs
  12. Take full responsibility for the health of your soul

The recovery keys show you that not all the church offers can be downloaded. Certainly, not all are available by sitting in a straight row on Sunday morning.

Of the five connections for the healthy Jesus-Follower is a place like The Quest House. For 50 years I’ve been preaching that one of the great needs is a place for the single father to go after he takes the kids back to the mother’s house or a place to sit with people who talk about life or just to be with someone. Loneliness is the greatest cause of relapse for addicts and greatest pain for singles.

The Quest House is a healing place. It is where interaction takes place—conversation. Where questions are answered and intellectual curiosity is welcomed and stimulated. Where holy discontent is celebrated and purposeful engagement is launched. Finding your place to invest with the second-half—to finish well. It is the community you’ve always longed for—or long for when you smell something like soul smoke.

Life-groups, prayer partners, skill-building classes and interaction around spiritual-emotional and spiritually health-building subjects are addressed in a seminar/conversation format. EPIC lives at Quest House: Experience, Participation, Images, Connection. Where you can heal from unique maladies like burnout or take a class in how to find healing for “I’m not…enuf.”

Quest Houses (no matter what these coffee houses, seminar suites or stand alone buildings are called) have no interest in replicating or replacing local churches, but offering a para-church ministry that cannot be downloaded from the Internet, plugged into your ear or experienced sitting in a pew.

From the porch

©2015 D. Dean Benton

My ebook HopePushers will be available within a few days. Excited!

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