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It was a beautiful service. Eyes were closed, heads were bowed and prayers were being lifted up to God. I felt sick.

In about a year, I had gone from attending church every week to wondering why I kept coming back. The answer was simple: I just couldn’t let go. I was a Christian after all, and Christians go to church.

“Leave the church”, I heard the Holy Spirit say again.

It didn’t make sense to me. Why would He want me to leave a church where there was sound, Biblical teaching? My relationship with God had basically been resurrected there! Where was I supposed to go?

“Leave”.

I fought, doubted, and reasoned: It must have been my imagination. Maybe the enemy was trying to lure me away. Maybe I was trying to escape when I really should have been working on contentment. Or should I have been more involved? Was I failing to cultivate what God had placed in my care?

“Go”.

Another Sunday service. Eyes closed… heads bowed… and church as I knew it was over.

It was time to turn the page. Time to let God move in an area of my life that had become ruled by routine. I knew that He was calling me to a different kind of church, but I was apprehensive because I hadn’t experienced church in any other way.

There had always been a building, weekly home groups, and various ministries to serve in. There had always been pastors…a worship team…elders…a congregation. The names of the ministries varied depending on the church, but the administration was pretty much the same.

My crutch hit the floor and I struggled to find His balance.

There was no routine. No protocol when it came to gathering with believers. No set times for ministry. Nowhere to coast through obedience. There was just God and the assurance that everything would be OK.

As the weeks went by, it became clear that God had been preparing me for this transition for a few years. He had placed zealous Christ followers in my path who did not attend “a church” as I knew it, but who frequently gathered in homes and public places. Discipleship was an organic part of their lives and they constantly prayed, shared the gospel, served, and welcomed the lost.

They were Holy Spirit-driven, spontaneous, purposeful, fruitful, involved in each other’s lives, bold and vulnerable at the same time. They were the church, and they were experiencing God in miraculous ways.

I wondered whether God was calling me to such a life. A life where surrender looked like non-conformism among the non-conformists. Where gathering with believers became intentional rather than automated. Where church happened wherever God was found. Where labourers reap as they walk through the harvest.

As I felt my way forward, I began to dream of neighbourhoods full of passionate Christ followers. Of churches coming together. Of meals shared with strangers. Of communities becoming families. Of nations trading vanity for God’s majesty. Of lives lived beyond boundaries.

I began to dream…

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