Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Questions – The Scary Answers

The fourth question people ask us is “What church are you with?”

Pagus itself is not with a particular church but the individual members are active within their respective bodies.

We have had several amazing churches that have been incredibly supportive of what we are doing. These churches have donated facilities, technology, or one of the many other things we need to make this happen.

The decision not to be officially affiliated with one particular church was intentional. We never wanted anyone to say, “I can’t go to that because it is for the members of that particular church.” Our events are designed to be as inclusive as possible while not compromising our responsibility to present the Word with integrity.

The decision to remain autonomous, in some respects, was a scary one. It meant that people cannot quickly or comfortably label who we are, and for that reason some chose not participate in Pagus events. However, I would encourage anyone who would like to know more about our core beliefs to contact us. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have, but allow me to address some of the basics.

We believe in God the Father, Creator and Sustainer of the Earth. We believe that Jesus is the preexistent Son and was a man born of a virgin 2000 years ago, and through the power of his life, death, and resurrection he freed us from the power of sin and death. We believe that the Holy Spirit resides within and empowers all who have accepted the free gift of salvation, and the Church is the expression of his continued power to transform lives. The Bible is the Holy and divinely inspired word of God, the revelation of his heart and character to his body. It teaches, comforts, convicts, and surprises all who study it. And Jesus is coming again to claim his bride.

Really, I should probably just insert the Apostle’s Creed here, but I think you get the idea.

The fifth question usually goes like this-

“If you are not under the authority of church leadership, who keeps you accountable?”
Well, while Pagus is not officially accountable to any one church, it does not mean there is no accountability. First and foremost, we are accountable to each other. We all seek the counsel of the others to confess our sins, struggles, and fears. If we have a doubt on a particular teaching, we talk it out, look it up, and research it.

In fact, hours each week are spent in individual study and discussion over everything we present. Most of the teachings are the result of years of study and experience. Nathan and I pace the floor while having marathon phone conversations about upcoming events, Barbie texts me with really odd Bible questions, and we constantly ask each other – “Where is that in scripture?”

It is difficult to find the words that convey how acutely aware each member of the team is of this terrible and amazing responsibility without sounding arrogant. The weight of it shakes us to the core, and every so often we find that one of us is asking “Who am I that I should do this?”, “Am I qualified?”, or “What if I mess this up?” These are good questions to ask, and we remind ourselves that God once used a donkey, so . . .

Added to this, we have many friends who devoted their lives to ministry, or simply lived lives that have demonstrated a maturity of faith. We use them shamelessly, and we rely on their wisdom and discernment to help keep us on track.

The sixth question –

“Why don’t you just start a church?”

Not even an option. I am tempted to say never will be an option, but you know how God and that whole “never” thing goes. Many a person has woke up in Zimbabwe because they had the audacity to say, “God, I will do anything, but I will never go to Zimbabwe.” And poof, the next week God calls them to the mission fields in Zimbabwe.
The thing about starting a church is usually all we do is reshuffle Christians to a new building. We really don’t want to do that, but we can help equip the church. Our desire is to teach, encourage, and facilitate. We don’t have to have a church to do that.

By offering events that open to many different churches, it gives members of different congregations a chance to share ideas, discuss their differences, learn from each other, and just maybe help us become more unified by our shared relationship with God – instead of by what building we sit in on Sunday morning. And my Bible leaves me with the impression that the whole unity thing is pretty important to God.

Obviously, this is just the cliff notes on these issues, and the answers are deeper than can be expressed in a few paragraphs. The only real way to know who we are and why we do what we do is to get to know us. Come to an event, email us, look us up on Facebook, or even call. We are always happy to talk about Pagus, God, our faith, - come to think of it, most of us will talk to just about anyone about anything.

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