I though I’d share with you what one of the members from Elgin, OR wrote about the meetings.
ONLY SIX MONTHS! Not much time to get our town prepared for Herb’s “Life Unlimited” series, but we were ready for the challenge. You see, this was to be a reaping celebration for the members of our church.
About five years ago, a couple of church members, Dale and Diane, had seen a need in the addict community for a recovery program that focused on Jesus, one that would let them become both sober AND free from their addiction. We revised the standard 12-step program, added Jesus at the core, gave it the name Underground Oasis, and off we went. Over the past five years we have seen many folks become free of their addictions, regain custody of their children, and reconnect with their own families/parents. Many of these same folks also had negative experiences going to various churches and expressed a desire that Oasis have a church service… so we created “Simple Church” in our home on Friday nights for those folks and others who would not be comfortable in a typical church setting. We had been holding meetings for several months before Herb got here with attendance running between 12-18 people. Another member uses her business as a massage therapist to reach people in the community, inviting friends to come… In short, we were preparing the field for Herb.
The church rented the largest hall in our town of 1,710 folks, prayed and held our breath. Wow! We had some 160 visitors, and they came night after night. On the night we passed around a sign-up sheet for further studies, we were literally blown away by the number of people who signed up. We spent quite some time as a group that night trying to figure out how to accommodate everyone on the list. Dale and Diane’s house could never hold that many people, so Kenna and Corey opened up their home to another Simple Church group that currently meets on Wednesday nights.
Each group is hosting 14-20 people (out poor pastor is kept running!) and more are contacting us, wanting to come. The result is that walls are being torn down to create more room in both homes! Simple Church is generating so much enthusiasm from its members that others are wanting to experience it also. So Herb, see what you’ve started?
What is Simple Church? Our two groups have different formats. Ours starts at 7 p.m. on Fridays with potluck finger foods and visiting; next, we spend 30 minutes on so letting people talk about problems they or their friends have, and we do individual prayer for those people; next, we do a 60-minute Bible study and end by finishing our treats and building relationships/chatting. The other group uses Herb’s “Life Unlimited” DVDs with food and prayer needs before and discussion after the presentation, all the while building relationships and friendships.
So can you do Simple Church after Herb leaves? Of course you can! And you can tailor it to fit the people in your own community. Just remember, the recipe is Jesus, food, friendship, caring, and study. Add it up and see what YOU come up with.
With love in Christ,
Diane and Dale Johnston