this week i’ve heard a couple of different people say things about tapestry that have made me smile. one of these was meant as a compliment (though some wouldn’t think so) and the other wasn’t really meant as a compliment but i’m taking it that way because it thrilled me. the only one i’m going to talk about is the one that was meant as a compliment.
a person who has been a part of tapestry for a few months made the following statement, “we’re a church of misfits.” i love this statement. i know some people would not want their church described as a bunch of misfits but i think it is great.
i’ve recently been thinking of the church as similar to the island of misfit toys. if you remember the rudolph the reindeer tv special then you know that the island of misfit toys is an island that defective and unwanted toys went to. it’s where the “rejects” went to develop a community. again i know this sounds a little negative but it’s not.
you see i believe that the scripture teaches that we are all a little screwed up. we’ve messed up, we’ve done stupid things, and pretty much not gotten it right. we’re not the perfect ones. we are not the ones who have it all together. instead we are the ones who recognize that we are desperately in need of someONE to claim us and call us HIS own. yep we’re a church that is made up of a bunch of misfits but i’m thrilled to be a part of a group of misfits because the LION OF JUDAH loves to claim professed misfits. HE chooses the ones that admit they are misfits, alone, and in need. it’s what HE does.
i actually feel sorry for the churches that are not made up of misfits.
I LOVE THE COMMUNITY OF FAITH THAT I AM A PART OF! tapestry is simply the greatest and i love getting to be a part of it. there are so many things that i could say about this but today i’ll just mention two reasons i love tapestry and both of them are personal because they relate to my experiences as pastor. so here are two reason i love tap.
- tap is a verbally safe family. we are not a quite group. it’s safe to talk and express doubts and triumphs. people participate in what is said during the message. in fact, one recent sunday that i felt like was a quite night pam pointed out that there had been more interaction during it than at any other church we had ever been. i’ve just grown to expect even more. i love the fact that while i am the primary one preaching i am by no means the only person in the room that people expect to hear GOD’s voice through. yes, we still have sermons and i do 85-90% of the talking but the 10-15% that comes from everyone else is huge. i love it. i love the questions. i love the doubts. i love the corrections. i love the additions. i love the personal examples. the tapestry sermon really comes from the community AND IT’S ONLY GOING TO GET BETTER AS WE CONTINUE TO MATURE (hint – my ultimate goal is to have an open weekly meeting for discussion and contribution to each week’s message). the above photo would never describe the thoughts of the threads.
- tap is a loving group. plain and simple the threads love each other and it shows. i could explain more but i figure this one is pretty easy for you to imagine. the people of tapestry love each other, want to be around each other, and love on others in such a way that they are made a part of the group. it’s a loving community.
there are plenty of other reasons that i could talk about but those are the two that i was most thankful for two.
i am fascinated by ernest shackleton and his failed attempt to cross antarctica. i’ve read several books and watched several documentaries on the trials of the endurance crew but until this week i had not read much concerning the ross sea party (on the aurora, the supply ship for the second half of the journey across antarctica). in this book i was reminded that while shakelton was considering crew members for the two ships he divided their names into three drawers labeled “mad,” “hopeless,” and “possible.”
how true is that? don’t you have to be a little mad or hopeless to be a part of a great adventure into the dangerous unknown? don’t you have to to be a little mad or hopeless to take a “leap to faith” that is serious enough that real harm is faced if it doesn’t turn out? most of us are simply too sane to take such leaps. that’s probably why we don’t see GOD do truly incredible things very often.
instead of taking real serious “leaps to faith” we try to describe slight and tame acts of faith as though they are gigantic. there is no real risk in them. no harm comes if they fail. the church continues, our prestige isn’t harmed, there is no great struggle that happens as result of the failed attempt because the leaps that we usually take just aren’t very great. shackelton’s and the ross sea party’s journeys were life and death. usually we followers of CHRIST are merely trying to jump a very small puddle while pretending that it is the atlantic ocean we are trying to span.
nope, most of the time we followers of CHRIST are very rarely “mad” or “hopeless” and therefore we rarely face the real opportunity of being put into the “possible” drawer when it comes to things that are truly amazing works of the kingdom of GOD. the amazing works of the kingdom of GOD involve real risk. the kingdoms of our churches do things that don’t require “mad” or “hopeless” people because usually there is very little real risk involved in those tasks. i believe that the stories of scripture reflect that GOD is always looking for the the “mad” and “hopeless” because they are the only ones crazy enough to attempt the things that are a part of HIS kingdom. those stories, and the modern day continuance of them, are cool because they are risky.
may all of us who call ourselves followers of JESUS become a little more “mad” and “hopeless” in taking risks with and for HIS kingdom.
SIDE NOTE – the above image is from a series of watercolor paintings inspired by shackleton’s journey. you can see the rest of them at samantha scherer’s website
dreams are good. at least i think so. tapestry began as a dream that pam and i had concerning being a part of a church that we thought 6 people whom we love would feel comfortable in. for a couple of years pam and i talked and prayed about such a church. one that was strong in it’s beliefs and yet open and loving enough that these friends of ours would be glad it existed (even if they disagreed with the church’s beliefs). eventually we became convinced that we had fallen into JESUS’s dream. tapestry isn’t there yet but it is definitely heading that way.
so once again i’ll say it – dreams are a good thing. therefore, i thought i would record a few of the more outlandish dreams i have for tapestry in hopes that maybe one day i will discover that they are the LORD’s dream too and therefore will be accomplished.
- i dream that tapestry will have or have access to a building in downtown point that we can use as a “safe place” for people who have done a little too much pub crawling. there are 14 bars in a three block region of downtown stevens point. wisconsin also has the highest rate of dui’s in the nation. obviously abusing alcohol is a common thing around here. unfortunately such abuse often leads to poor and sometimes very dangerous choices. i would like to be able to set up a place where people can “detox” a little when they have overdone it, get some coffee, get a ride home, etc. and know that they are doing it in a safe place and experiencing GOD’s love. i saw something like this via sank*tuary and i think it is an amazing idea.
- i dream that by the end of the year tapestry would grow to point that we need to begin planning to divide. the mindset of tapestry is that we want to grow to then split and form new churches. this means bringing new people into the kingdom of GOD but not having as our prime directive the increase our church’s size or power. organizations have a tendency to move from their original purpose to the motive of organizational survival and power. that’s not what we want to do. in ’09 i would love to reach the point where we can put all of our talk into action and start forming a new church that would reach people that tapestry has never even thought of.
- i dream that tapestry could do 3 truly different worship gatherings during ’09. i mean radically different times that people would respond with “i never knew church could be like that.” when you get down to it most church services are the same in their structure. there are stylistic differences like music and speaking style but at their core structure they are the same. we say hello to each other, we sing a little, we listen to someone speak, we do announcements, and then we leave. if creativity is from GOD (and i believe it is) then every now and then a church gathering ought to be something truly new. i think this is harder than it seems. therefore, my dream is just three different gatherings. when i say different i mean a gathering that is not just different stylistically but is different in the manner in which we worship GOD (though not different in the WHO we worship). JESUS did things differently and therefore i would like to do the same every now and then.
- i dream that tapestry would be a group of people that are so challenged by GOD’s word that sacrificial changes would take place within our lives. i don’t mean typical safe church changes. rather i hope that we have a couple of changes take place this year that are so sacrificial that we begin to think “maybe we’ve gone too far.” the type of sacrifice that requires GOD to show up or we’re in trouble. my dream is to see a couple of such dramatic sacrificial changes during ’09.
of course, there are a lot of other things that have to and will take place within and through tapestry (like being incorporated, working out finances, etc). yet the things above are dreams that i think would push us quite a bit to accomplish. those are the fun type of dreams.
as i write this, instead of doing the studying that i should be doing, ’08 has 10 1/2 hours left in it. before the year ends i wanted to say “THANK YOU” for being a part of what GOD has done this year in and through tapestry. this is what i know HE has done:
- started a group from scratch that desperately wants to wants, love, and enjoy HIM that didn’t exist before (i.e. tapestry).
- developed a witness in point of a group that firmly believes in CHRIST and yet demonstrates that belief in a firmness of love and loving acts.
- provided water to 300 bearers of HIS image in diriamba , nicaragua.
- changed the way some in point celebrated HIS birth/incarnation.
- raised just under $800 for clean water through advent conspiracy at tapestry.
- led one lost sheep publicly back to HIM.
- established a relationship with forsaken people in nicragua that will lead to them being redeemed by the ONE WHO became forsaken to claim all of us.
and this is just the stuff that i know of. not bad for only 15 weeks of the year. i can’t wait to see what HE will do through all of us in ’09.
later today, just for the fun of it, i’ll write couple of the things that i believe GOD is doing to do in and through tapestry in ’09. but right now i need to get back to studying jeremiah.
here’s the monthly prayer email that i send out for tapestry. i am honored to have such wonderful people praying for me and more importantly for tapestry. if you did not receive email and you would like to please email me at robert[dot]terrell[at]gmail[dot]com.