Can you hear it?

Before we went in to the meeting with the board of the Walnut Hills Christian Church last night to ask about using their facility for Echo Church worship gatherings, Aaron and I sat in my car and prayed; we were going to be content with whatever God brought our way. We made our way into their parlor [one of only three rooms in the building with air conditioning] and stepped back in time. Their parlor is straight out of the 1960's. The room has a yellow tint to it a furniture that made our couch look contemporary. It's like they had done their best to preserve a room that time forgot. It was here that we began meeting all the board members.

There were eight people, not counting the two co-pastors. We began with a word of prayer and I began to share our backgrounds and the desire to start this new church. The early questions were softballs [which perhaps isn't the best analogy considering how poor I hit in our game late last night], things like, "Why this area?" But then one of the gentlemen began asking a question that was less a question and more a release of frustration caused by twenty years in a church that's been sputtering along. His point blank question was, "where were you two when we were looking for new pastors?" The question was awkward, considering that the two current pastors were sitting in the room with us. Aaron did a great job answering that one.

All we did for the remainder of our time was talk church with them. They all seemed frustrated with where they were as a church and we did our best to encourage them along their path. That was the amazing thing that I observed last night: those people are so desperate to see something happen that I don't think they give a rip about specific areas of our theology; they just want to feel like their labor isn't in vain. The most amazing comment of the evening was when one of the board members said, "your new church is an answer to our prayers."

It still has to be approved by the congregation but, as we left, I'm confident that's where our new church will be.

A few thoughts about last night: first, there's nothing like being in a place when God shows up. I never doubted God through this, but I was doubting whether he'd let us meet there. As much as God has been preparing us for this venture, he's been preparing that church to receive us. It reinforces the concept of different dimensions by which to view the workings of God.

Also, I still find the utter desperation of those people intriguing. I guess you forget that even though a church shrinks in size, there are still those who want to see it thrive. Unfortunately for them, they can't perceive that the problem is their lack of being in-touch. I'm going to file this thought because I'm sure that, one day, I could be sitting on the other side of the coffee table. I think there are a lot of snot-nosed punk ministers who think doing church today is all about incense and indie-rock worship music. I'm convinced that it all comes down to teaching God's Word in a relevant, comprehendible way.

Finally, and this might be over the heads of some of you unfamiliar with my church background, our "movement" of churches has been obsessed as of late with striving for unity with the non-instrumental Churches of Christ because they viewed them as the most accessible. Here we are in a productive dialogue with the Disciples of Christ, who also share our Restoration Movement roots, but with whom many say there is no reconciliation. Maybe we've been barking up the wrong tree.

All I know is that we had a chance to be front row when God did something really cool. It was good to be there.