I remember clearly the first time I was confronted with the idea that church was more than a building.
I grew up in the church, so anytime a baby sitter was required, my parents never had to go far. One of my favorite care-takers was a guy named Tracey. I want to say he was about twenty-seven at the time. He was also a student, in fact, he was constantly a student. Tracey was one of the first people I ever encountered who simply enjoyed the act of learning. In my head I always pictured him as Indiana Jones’ mild mannered little brother. All that to say, I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t actually have a clue what he was actually studying. I never really picked up on any of the details as a kid.
What I loved about Tracey was that he went out of his way to teach me things no other kid would know. When I was ridiculously young, he bought a spiral-bound set of note cards and wrote down the Greek alphabet and some words. I was the only kid in second grade who could sound out the Bible in Greek. (That earned me some major cred at the Christian school I attended that year.)
Anyway, one day when he came over to watch me, he decided we would go bowling. What really excited me though, was that he had a theology workbook for kids. (You think I’m a nerd now?) I remember sitting at a table between frames flipping through this book and stopped on a page that had a ridiculously difficult squiggly maze on it. The “start” area was a little car, the “end” area was a church. It said, “Can you find your way to Church?” The gauntlet had been dropped.
I began studying the maze, and realized that right off from the start was a path about two inches long that led to a group of people just standing together. So cocksure was I, that I brazenly informed this group that I had no time for rides, I had to get to church. Over the course of the next hour, I slowly began to lose my grip on sanity. Even as I hurled the ball down the alley, I was thinking of that damn maze. No matter which path I took, I kept hitting dead ends. Finally, in a fit of frustration, I flipped to the back of the book for the answer.
It showed the maze, with a line drawn from the “start” area to the group of standing people . Beneath that, it said “Church isn’t a building. It’s the people inside that make it mean something.”
I think we’re all looking for that little group of standing people. I created this blog to try and find God wherever he exists, and I know for a fact that he exists in community… Even communities online.
Which is why I’m pleased to announce the creation of a Hunting For God forum. My vision of HFG is for it to become a place where people go to find the strength to confront both their faith and their disbelief. My hope for the forum is that people from all walks of life visit it in order to pose and answer questions about faith and life. I would love to see our little fledgling community begin to grow and find its voice.
Of course, with all people-sourced ventures, if it’s going to work it needs your help. When it comes to online communication, people beget more people. It would mean the world to me if you would register and start a thread or leave a reply. Tell your friends, get people involved. The more people come to the forum with a question, the more likely that you encounter someone that has an answer to yours. We’re in this together, after all. I recently had the pleasure of seeing my very first adult small group run it’s full course. We started with three couples two years ago. By the end, it had grown to four couples, three families, and two singles. The perfect myriad of life experiences and perspectives. It became a family. Now, I know these things are rare. And I also know that when they’ve run their course the best thing we can do is be thankful we were a part of it. I think we have an opportunity here to create a haven of questions and answers, banter and epiphanies. I’d love to look back and be glad I was a part of it, wouldn’t you?