We began with a set of disorienting questions:
What if the goal of a church wasn’t to grow numerically?
What if the metric of success wasn’t worship attendance?
What if the vision wasn’t to get big, but small?
Small enough to journey together through the overwhelming task of raising children? Small enough to encourage each other through the daily grind of school and work? Small enough to feel safe and invited to be honest with our questions and our doubt? Small enough to really examine how the gospel disrupts and reorients our lives? Or just simply, small enough to know each other by name?
What if when we said, “this is my church” we weren’t talking primarily about a building, or a religious gathering, or a style of music, but friends? What if these things called “small groups” or “home groups” or “cell groups” or “life groups” weren’t the extracurricular supplement to “church”, but actually the church itself?
And, what if in the open religious marketplace of America, we’ve become such connoisseurs of “church”, with refined tastes and preferences (in preaching style, worship style, children’s programing, racial demographics, etc.), that this concept of “church” has become the very thing that stunts our growth in God?
Frankly, I was a wrecking ball of anxiety asking these questions of ecclesiology in a large 70 year old United Methodist Church. Ironically, despite the very premise of the questions being asked, I feared that the few who had gathered for this first launch team meeting, wouldn’t come back.
Us pastors are such insecure creatures.
But something began to incubate as we began to imagine a community that was rooted and grounded in words like covenant, responsibility, home, safety, partnership, and love.
This is the story of Oikon Chapelwood — a people of various backgrounds being drawn together to form a family of faith in Houston TX.