The following is written by one of our Vox members, Chris Morton, who will be helping plant Austin Mustard Seed, a localized expression of church in North/Central Austin. Austin Mustard Seed begins weekly gatherings on October 13.
This coming Sunday, Austin Mustard Seed will begin hosting a weekly liturgy. For the last four years, I’ve called Vox Veniae my home. Vox is the most fun, innovative and loving church community I’ve ever known. Why would anyone leave?
1) If you love something, you want there to be more of it.
I landed at Vox Veniae a little beat up. On my first visit, I saw no pretense, heard the soothing hymns of Sufjan Stevens and was invited out to lunch. The community was made of individuals at different stages of faith with varying lifestyles. They exuded creativity and a sense of belonging. I was encouraged to participate, not just watch.
In a world where millennials seem to be dropping out of church, Vox is young and vibrant. In a commuting culture, Vox is passionate about being good neighbors. In a politically polarized culture, Vox is fighting to create a quiet space to listen to God.
I would love to spend the next few decades as a part of Vox. There is something I am convinced is more important: giving more people the opportunity I had.
2) We need neighborhood churches.
Here’s my theory: the best antidote for consumer church is incarnational communities. When I say “incarnational“, I mean that the church follows the methodology of Jesus: “the Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood.” Jesus, the eternal Word of God and second person of the Trinity, became a baby. He got calloused hands from working hard labor, spoke Aramaic and ate a lot of locally sourced fish.
There’s a lot of great regional churches. Sometimes the people who live in the same neighborhood as the church building don’t know much about the church other than the traffic jams on Sundays. I’m betting that living the church together in our neighborhoods will make it easier to participate in meaningful community and love our neighbors.
3) My season of “receiving healing” is over.
My church has been a safe place for those who are hurting. I’ve settled into myself a lot over the last few years. The community and resources at Vox have helped with that. The next step of healing will come from working for the benefit of others.
4) It’s good to serve with friends.
Austin Mustard Seed began as the dream of my friends John and Sherri Chandler. They’ve encouraged me throughout my time in Austin. I love working with John and have been thrilled to meet likeminded leaders in Mustard Seed’s network, Ecclesia. John is much more pastoral than I am, more of an optimist and a better preacher. When I looked at churches and organizations around the world, I found that I got more excited about serving with a friend than starting from scratch.
5) God won’t leave me alone.
In college, I was introduced to the idea of church planting. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head for years.
People need Jesus. The world needs communities of Jesus-disciples. We can’t fix our broken world, but we can introduce it to Jesus. We can’t build a perfect society, but we can strive to live out his teachings together. When I read scripture, it seems that the local church is both the means and the ends of God’s current work in the world.
When you think of it that way, why would you want to be a part of anything else?
[Photo by coolhandluke @ Flickr]