It's official, we have chosen a name for this new church: Storyline Christian Community.
Storyline is a way of referring to the plot of a story. An editor might ask how a detail in a story fits into the larger storyline--the greater plot. We believe this idea describes something profound about life: we each have our own stories, but is there a way they all contribute to something larger? Or to ask the same question differently, does life have a larger storyline appealing for our contribution?
We believe there is such a story. And we want our lives to count. We want our contributions to matter. So we begin to investigate what this greater story is all about, and how our lives might have a role in this storyline.
Why Christian Community instead of church? We have several reasons. But first, please do not misunderstand: we are starting a new church. We love and admire other churches, and we consider ourselves a part of the universal Church (stretching across time and around the globe). We are not ashamed of being a church.
Today, however, the idea of a church has come to carry some meanings we do not desire. For instance, when we use the word church, we repeatedly use it to refer to a place, not a people. The most frequent question people ask me after I tell them we're starting a new church is not "what will you be about," but they ask "where will it be?" We sense Christian Community will communicate better: we are a people seeking Jesus.
Our decision also has to do with our mission context: central Dallas. There are tons of people here who grew up in church, but they no longer participate. Many of them have had bad experiences. And unfortunately, these poor experiences and perceptions get projected on to all churches. Now, I'm not silly enough to assume no one will ever have a poor experience as a part of this new church, but we do hope the striking absence of the word church from our name might serve to communicate that our community is unique from what others may have experienced previously.
And finally, this language is more true to our values. I believe the point of church is living in relationships with others--sharing life together. Our methodologies are built around this conviction, and we're designing our ministry structures to facilitate a culture of genuine relationships. We are about creating community.
And we're so fired up! Our families celebrated yesterday with not one, but TWO dessert samplers at a great Uptown restaurant. I suppose next to this whole church planting idea, dessert might be our greatest passion. :o)