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Introductions


#21

Hi, we’re Regan & Kirsty from the Gold Coast in Australia.
Last year we set out on a journey of redefining church with a group of like-minded believers. Long story short – we’ve been in ministry for the last 10 years and through a series of experiences culminating in us finding ourselves on church staff for a large Pentecostal church, we began to realise that not only did we not “fit the mold”, but that God was calling us and others out of that very structure in order to establish a new work of gathering believers and reaching the lost around us.

We are so grateful for you and others who are daring to re-describe church to those of us who know that what we read in the bible and what we’ve seen in practice are often not the same thing - sometimes not even close. As we’ve gathered in our home over the last year, God has begun to connect us with others who have come to the same conclusions.

This is scary new territory for us. For a decade we’ve sat under some of this nation’s most respected church leaders and have even been given opportunity to plant campuses and run significant parts of their ministries. But this new work looks nothing like that. All of our “training” was around buildings and events and programs and sound systems and marketing and…, well you know the picture. But this, this is something that we never would have imagined we’d be doing. We are looking forward to this discussion and allowing it to be a part of our unfolding revelation of church, community & mission.

Regan & Kirsty Perry,
Gold Coast, Australia


#22

I currently live in NC, and I have been all over the spectrum from traditional churches to contemporary churches, and a few different house churches and organic churches, yet no longer feel good about any of them.

The only thing that I have felt good about on the whole journey is learning that following Jesus is more about the love of God, and living by faith instead of self-effort.


#23

Hello Fellow Travelers,

My name is Shelly. I’m 23 years married and have a 17 year old. Both my husband and I were raised in a very conservative Bible-based denomination. It is more than a religion - it is a way of life. By the church’s standards we were considered “liberal” so we were already on the fringe but accepted as long as we were involved. I was volunteering for the church about 20 hours a week and my husband was about 10 hours. There were weeks if it weren’t for us church wouldn’t have happened.

Church was our only social outlet (you didn’t want to be contaminated by those on the outside; you just didn’t know what type of false teachings, doctrines, or heresy they believed and would proselytize you to). Our only friends were church members and we were very social.

We weren’t looking for anything else but being “liberal” we were open to reading non-denominational printed or sanctioned material. A fellow like-minded friend recommended “The Shack” and some other books. Then I stumbled across “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore.” Those 2 books and several others got the ball rolling for us. Combined with getting a new pastor who we did not agree with his “all over the map” theology and me running on fumes we were starting to become disenfranchised.

4 years ago I was burnt out to the point of nearing a nervous break down and I quit all my church offices. Funny thing is that’s when we started losing friends; people would not socialize with us and we were often ignored at church. Going to church became painful, especially for me. So we intentionally weened ourselves out of our church 3 years ago and now we only go about 4 times a year since we still have family attending. We have a few friends left from church, several who have walked away as well.

Most importantly for us, the journey has been learning how to live outside of a church-dictated lifestyle. We are learning how to make friends, how to think for ourselves, how to move away from the burden of shame and guilt, how to be less judgmental and more accepting. We are learning to look for and see God working in all sorts of non-institutional church places we had not previously seen. We are learning to recognize Jesus speaking to us and leading us further down the road. We are learning how to live loved. We’ve come a long way since we started this journey. Before this I was just a religious person; a human-doing. Now I’m a spiritual person on a human-being journey. For once in my life, I’m content with where I am and where I’m going.

Thank you for this opportunity to listen and share. Looking forward to meeting others on the same journey.


#24

Hi, my name is Valerie. I have been living back in my hometown in southern Ontario for the past 3.5 years after spending about 26 years in Virginia.
Having grown up the last of seven children, in a home where it was often quoted over us, ‘Children are to be seen and not heard,’ and as part of a liturgical denomination where generational rote, and not discovery, was the norm for molding a person, I see myself as one who spent a lot of time observing, and pondering while dutifully performing according to the accepted prescribed formulas. The upside… the constant searching and processing internally of life’s questions. The downside… a twisted 'preferring others in not healthy ways due to fear of rocking the boat or being tossed from it. :sweat: Wanting to keep the peace and not recognizing that is an impossibility when conflict is raging internally. The only thing that has kept me going is the desire to see Father, Son, and Spirit in my life on their terms and not on those imposed from outside sources. I have the all too familiar story of trying to reconcile my beliefs within the confines of systems which left me feeling a complete failure bidding me to walk away… to where, I wasn’t sure. Thankfully I was brought to a place where stepping outside the box was no longer seen as something to be avoided at all costs. Living life by rote is a death sentence. Being seen, but not heard, is an horrible imposition of isolation (regardless of whether it is imposed from outside or from within). So, being brought to a place where I could question, consider, search out, and observe others having the freedom to do so was both liberating and concerning. For the past several years I have been amazed to discover I am not the only one who was stirred within and that it was not ‘sinful’ or disrespectful to Father et al. I still run into internal residue that finds me stuck and stumbling on the path. Ever the learner though, I am looking forward to partaking in what will be shared here as Father may well have some yet unseen gems for my eyes to feast upon which will illuminate my journey. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll let his presence in my life be of some intrinsic value to the discussions. I am glad that we have this vehicle to participate in. Thank you to the administrators, and to co-participants for being here.


#25

RHi my name is Ian, I am from Zimbabwe but live in the UK, have done since 1986 when I moved here with my then wife with whom I split up over 20years ago and today are the best of friends. We have two wonderful children Natasha 27 and married, Nathan 25 and single not grandchildren yet but plans are afoot.
I was fortunate enough to meet Wayne and listen to the wonderful discussions the group there had in Esher, London during his recent visit to the UK.
I am so excited about this discussion as it is so timely for me, I have read Finding Church through once and at that time I was in such a lonely place I thought “well this probably is too far out there for me!” I just could not see how things would change. I even emailed Wayne in desperation to meet some similar minded folks that were living outside the confines of organised religion. Wayne’s reply was so encouraging and basically encouraged me to leave it in Fathers hands as He knows best the people that He wants me to be around. Well nothing really happened that I could jump up and down about for months. Then I started noticing that I was having more and more conversations whilst out and about and at work. They where not my norm and then at work one day a chap came up to me and said he’d just left his church and would like to have some fellowship… That is where I am to date, that one chap has grown over the last month to about 4 families all that have left a local church that they where not happy with. I have started reading Finding Church again. Any hints or help in me recognising the church Jesus is building will be so helpful as I haven’t the foggiest what I’m doing and daily keep say to Father, “Oh dear I hope you know what is going on because I don’t??”

Ian. Colnbrook, Berkshire (near Heathrow) UK.


#26

Hi, my name is Pierre and I’m from South Africa. I exited institutional christianity in 2005 and have since then been involved in informal small groups and with a network of fellow travellers from around the globe. My marriage was one of the many casualties of professional ministry. I have four sons and six grandkids.


#27

Hi Joanne, Christine and Mark here. We are from NC too!


#28

HI! Great to meet you! We are in Laurel Hill which is on hwy 74 between Wilmington and Charlotte.


#29

Hi, my name is Dawna. I live in California. My husband and I have 5 children, 4 girls and 1 boy. Our oldest daughter was married last December and now we have another son.
Our youngest just turned 18. We homeschooled all of them and I will be out of a job this summer.:smiley:

I met Wayne and Sarah last year at a get together.


#30

Greetings one and all… My name is Bob and I live on the beautiful western slope of the Rockies in Colorado.
I have been on the journey of “how to do church right” :slight_smile: for more than a decade now, Wayne, Lifestream.org, his books and several friends and others father has brought my way have contributed mightily. I pray that this discussion will bring more light into our lives as well as a deeper understanding of hw our God within, through and for us. Bob


#31

My name is Nancy Blanchard. I live north of Seattle, WA with my husband Dan (of 28+ years) and our four children (ages 22 - 13). We have homeschooled our children from the getgo and have 2 that are still school age… my two older children, on their own, continue educating themselves and haven’t stopped learning new things. My family is my biggest blessing.

I enjoy conversations with friends who are walking through the overcoming life and I love to hear the miracles the Lord does to rescue them and their families. I love to read and study about the Lord through the Bible and various authors and record in my journal what I learn and experience.

I was raised going to church, when I was a teen/young adult I lived “the prodigal life”, and after I was married, my husband and I answered an altar call together at the age of 24. We tried living the Christian life “inside the box” for many years (19 years), but about 5 years ago we stepped out of the box and left the institution of church which was a pivotal time for me where my faith changed from “trying to fit in” to growing ‘in love” with and toward the Lord. My life has changed and I never want to go back. It’s been a crazy hard and wonderful few years of seeing my true condition and leaning on the Lord to help me overcome lots of years of overlooking my sin and strongholds (and thinking I was good) and opening my heart to let Jesus all the way in and learning to love my family and others like He loves… I am grateful to have the opportunity to join this discussion as, Wayne Jacobsen, you have been a piece of the puzzle that the Lord used to move me forward toward Him.


#32

Hello. Great to meet you all and read of your various journeys. I’ve been a Christian since I was 28 and am now 77. Where did those years go?
I have been in the same church all my Christian life and am currently involved in an outreach on a housing estate owned by a housing association, in Lancashire UK.
We are trying to be as user friendly as poss. so that our services are held sometimes in the Community Centre and sometimes in a pub/ Tavern. We always eat together after service and the services are very free and easy, where we are encouraged to comment or ask questions. We go to the cinema, for walks, concerts etc.
Personally, I would like to see more moving of the Holy. Spirit, but this is on its way I feel.
Many years ago I was part of a church house group, which portrayed much of the ‘ways of being’ which we are all interested in. Sadly this closed after bereavement in the family of the hosts of this group.
So what now? The Lord will show me/us


#33

Hi: My name is Mike. I am from Atlanta, Georgia. I grew up going to church buildings and I guess I begin questioning what I was being taught about God in my twenties. I am not exactly sure what the initial issues were that just didn’t seem right about a loving God. I was never comfortable with wives being submissive to husbands in a way that men weren’t to women. I could not imagine the traditional meaning of Hell being true. So many other issues just didn’t ring true. I start writing on my website about ten years ago to leave with my children and maybe their children what I thought about God. Now, I just write about topics that hopefully encourage others to think about God possibly in a different way if inquiring or questioning God. Probably like a lot of you, I am always thinking and questioning God. I wonder why some are more inclined to do that and not others. I know it ain’t because I am a saint!


#34

My name is Ruby. I live in Calmar Alberta Canada with my husband of seven years and my two cats. I like photography, gardening, connecting with family, and wide-open spaces.

I am very thankful for the God Journey, Wayne Jacobsen and the community of fellow travellers that know this road well.

My story is too long to share here but I am a lot like most of you and your experiences and stories are very precious to read.

Your stories are what help me along this journey. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m looking forward to exploring and interacting on this form with my fellow travellers .

Ruby Neumann from Calmar, Alberta


#35

My name is Bev and I live in rural Wyoming. I listen to the God Journey regularly and have read several of Wayne’s books. “He Loves Me” is my all time favorite and I gift it frequently. I was estranged from the institutional church for many years and now am able and interested in finding out what the “church” is all about. The Jesus Lens is still my favorite study and I use it as a jumping off point for new bible study. I want to understand more about how the modern church ended up as it is today and just what it was meant to be and look forward to seeing what experiences others have had. I do attend church and bible study at two different churches which has in itself given me some new insights. This format is a new experience for me. Thank you.


#36

Hello my name is Peter Herzog and I live in Michigan. I have been on this jorney for about 10 years. Been involved in the church for about 36 years. I have 5 children and have been married for 33 years.Glad to be apart of this discussion.


#37

Hi! My name is Karen. I live in Virginia. My husband and I have raised 2 boys now adults and have adopted 3 girls all now teenagers. We both grew up in IC and spent all of our adult years in it. Always had questions about the dichotomy of what the IC was teaching and the what Jesus was showing us. Never got reasonable answers. Some times we still go to a building to hang out with believers and maybe get an encouraging word from the man up front, but we are not regulars on Sunday mornings.


#38

Hi, my name is Pat. I live in Northern Wisconsin with my husband, David and our two Labs, Ben and Birdie. I have three grown sons and six grandchildren.
I enjoy wandering through state and national forests with my husband and our dogs, gardening, cooking and conversations. I really like hearing others stories. I enjoy the simplicity of living each day with Him even though I have no clue where he is leading me most of the time. I just keep leaning into his love and do my best to trust the nudges and respond to what’s right in front of me each day. I am just beginning to understand not only his love for me, but all creation. I find myself in awe and many times absolutely speechless!
I am grateful for being in this space with all of you.


#39

My name is Mark and I live in southern CA with my wife and kids. I grew up in church, but my hunger didn’t really appear until about 7 years ago when God got my attention. I have always been a bit of a questioner and the lack of answers from within got me started down a road I am so thankful for. Learning how to see Christ in the ordinary and hear his voice has brought tremendous life and freedom. I enjoy connecting with others who also want to share Christ.


#40

Hi, my name is Tara and I live in San Francisco, CA with my husband, Kevin. We have a 25-year-old daughter who is the light of our lives, and a 13-year-old Silky Terrier who makes us laugh every day. We love spending time outdoors hiking, rock climbing and adventuring. I also love to read and watch Netflix :slight_smile:

My husband and I were both raised in the church from a very young age, and have been deeply involved for most of our lives. We have volunteered and served in multiple ministries, and I also was on a church staff as the personal assistant to the lead pastor for 5 years. Boy, were my eyes opened during that time to all that goes on “behind the curtain.”

Three years ago, we left all that we knew and moved from Phoenix to San Francisco to help my sister- and brother-in-law plant a new church in the city. Little did we know just how drastically that move would change our lives. Shortly after moving, I sank into a deep depression that required medication and therapy. Throughout this process, I started questioning everything I knew about God, Jesus and the church. Well, I shouldn’t say “started questioning…” as I now realize that the questions were always there. I just had never allowed myself to fully voice them for fear of (1) being labeled a troublemaker and/or (2) not finding the answers. But now I allowed my doubts and questions and struggles to surface, and I started confiding these things in my husband. I started reading books and blogs about faith shifting/unraveling, church outside the walls, and redefining our relationship with God and Jesus. I finally read The Shack (game changer!) and that led me to Wayne’s other books and resources. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for Wayne and all that my husband and I have learned from him so far. He has become a spiritual mentor to me even though he doesn’t even know me :smile: During this time, going to church every Sunday became increasingly difficult and we finally stepped out of it about 15 months ago. This was a very painful decision to make being that we are in a new city where the only people we know and love are deeply involved in the (now very successful) church plant. Thankfully a few people still are our friends and have been open to having discussions about our new journey, even though they don’t really understand where we’re at.

I am very lonely and still struggle off and on with depression. I sometimes think it would just be easier to go back to church and shove all the questions back down into the box, but I know deep down I am forever changed and there’s no returning to Egypt. I just wish I knew where I was headed. I wish I had friends to go along this journey with me. I wish I felt secure in the Father’s affection. I wish I had a stronger faith that this is all true and that my faith was anchored in Jesus. Honestly, right now, everything is up in the air. I feel like I’m sliding down a slippery slope and I’m not sure where I’m going to land.

It does really help to read about other people’s journeys and see that faith and relationships can indeed thrive outside of the institution.

I’m really looking forward to these discussions. Finally! People I can talk to and relate with! :slight_smile: