Seasons of church

I really liked these notes from Frank Viola's workshop at the house church conference in Denver, taken by Roger at the house church blog on the four seasons you can expect to go through:

  1. Honeymoon-- everything is wonderful and beautiful.
  2. Crisis--conflicts, disagreements, or problems with difficult people. This can cause the church to self-destruct unless they are able to move on to the next season.
  3. The cross--people in the group are able and willing to take their life and issues to the cross and die to self in the area that is being challenged.
  4. Tested Body life--real community is experienced (at least for a while).
Two other notes: If you don't make it through these phases, then your church will disband; and if you make it through #4, then you'll recycle through them again. Lastly, Viola said that house churches generally last between 6 months and 2 years.

My comment or "take" is that we usually have a hard time ending an ecclesia or personally leaving an Ecclesia. Usually, the problem is more that these go on too long and become stagnant or ingrown or "rocking-chaired", meaning that it's a group of saints that are happy to just sit and rock, smiling and loving, but kind of boring. I must give credit to this rocking chair word-picture to Steve Sjogren.

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