My disillusion with the institution began shortly after returning from the mission field in 2005. I thought it was because of my inability to re-acclimate to the American way of life. We had several supporting churches that we needed to visit. As we visited them it seemed that the disillusion was growing. The facade of the institution was beginning to crumble. I started to see things that did not seem right. The churches being run like a business along with programs and tradition dictating the life of the church. I remember one day during a service, we stood up to sing, sat down to pray, stood up to greet others, whom I really did not know, sat back down to listen to a sermon. It looked like we were all robots going through the motions of this machine. It all felt very empty and as I looked around I thought to myself what was the purpose of it all? Then, my conclusion was surly there has to be more to this than what I see. The thought of leaving it all was insane, unheard of, we were missionaries and we had so much to lose if we left.
One day, while reading Revolution by George Barna, I read something that put words to what I was experiencing inwardly, it was people weren’t leaving the church because they were disgruntled but because they wanted to preserve their faith. That’s what I wanted and it seemed as if I continued in the institution that something would be lost. This started our family’s journey out of the institution.
The next few years was a refining of this desire to preserve my faith. We tried all kinds of things that we thought would preserve our faith. In our pride, we said we’re missionaries we knew how to start churches. We tried to find out the “right way to do church” for the next 4 years.
All our efforts and attempts failed because we were focused on our need for community, spiritual needs of our kids, to have more freedom from the structure of the institution in regards to sharing and worship.
Then in 2009, I realized why I was called out of the institution, not for my needs to be met, but for the need of Christ. I was done with church for sure. I came across a book From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola. It explained the eternal purpose of God. This purpose was for his people to live by another life, divine life and not their own. Learning how to know and express Christ together so that through the church He could become the ALL in ALL.
In 2011 we sold our house and moved to be a part of a group that wanted to meet the need of God. We’ve been a part of that group for 4 years. It gloriously and painfully shattered all my expectations of church and Christ. I thought I knew what it was all about how to do church but I knew nothing, nothing all. I’ve seen and experienced “the more” but it took emptying of my way of things and my needs in order to have room for Christ, His church, and his way of doing things.