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Neo-Monastic Mega-House

You want Daiquiri Ice right?  (Daiquiri Ice is my sister’s favorite flavor at Baskin Robbins 31 flavors.) Denominations and sub-denominations result in recognizable flavors of church – which help someone pick a few free samples before deciding which one to commit to a full scoop.

When explaining which church we are going to – to friends – we eventually found that the way we talked about church was no longer adequate.  Speaking with denominational language was no longer adequate.  After going to the Village for months, we were still uncomfortable with answering denominational questions as it was hard to articulate what ‘mega-house’ and ‘neo-monastic’ meant – mostly because I didn’t understand these terms myself even though I enjoyed going to the Village.  Heather and I actually found ourselves caught off-guard when someone would ask questions about what denomination our church is – as a normal answer for us was found in referencing a denomination/sub-denomination/sub-denomination flavors and it was a lot of work to say ‘it doesn’t follow a single known sub-denomination flavor and so it may take a while for us to explain how it is familiar and different – and in the differences it will probably appear scary until you understand that it is actually more beautiful in these differences’.  It was like saying, let’s talk about using familiar ingredients with an unfamiliar recipe instead of ordering a common and well known menu item.   It wasn’t until I understood ‘the label’ and could describe these terms in my own words – that I felt found the label to be an excellent description of this church recipe in Eric’s handwritten church cookbook.   

“Mega-House” and “Neo-Monastic” are new words in a world of ancient inherited language.  While I was comfortable in using denominational language in describing church experiences more so than describing church with raw, fresh, truly-creative language.  Now that I feel confident in being able to articulate how the Village is a ‘mega-house’ and is ‘neo-monastic’, ask me today and I can verbally dance around with salty words to describe how these labels are visionary titles that accurately encompass the values and practices held at the Village.

With a creative breath, Eric decided to describe the church vision with the phrases “Neo Monastic” & “Mega House”.

Mega-House.  I have had people tell me that Mega-House is an oxymoron because someone is saying Big-Small with this phrase. I understand this reaction, however I hold that this is an excellent description.  Much like a large mushroom, a jumbo shrimp or a big baby, the descriptive words represent both detail and conflict with size.  While a house church may comfortably sit 10, a mega house church may sit 40-80 because it is a big house church with room for more than a normal house church while still reflecting the setup / structure of meeting in a home.  Our mega house church has comfortable seating – like someone’s living room.  Our mega house church let’s children be children with loving guidance from everyone – just as many experience in a home.  A home often has space and time designed for conversation and in essence community.  A mega house church too has room for community – building spaces that are built around talking, me in your life and you in my life, eating together, doing dishes as a team or often avoiding dishes (just like many homes).  It is always nice when a home has a fun activity for people to enjoy time around, like a pool or a trampoline – at the Village we use a ping pong table for many of us to play around while filling the room with music via Spotify – with music that was created by people at the Village – future nostalgic music.

Neo-Monastic.  This too feels a bit like saying New Old as when I think of a monastery with monks, I think of old spaces with ancient practices.  So New Monastic is saying – a new modern community where my life and your life blend in this modern Tucson area – and our 2 circles collide to make a new shape.   I invite you to enter in with my family / my space / my circle and thank you for inviting my family to join your family on a joint family journey where are paths collide and share time together.

In essence, I would sum up Neo-Monastic & Mega-Church as a place where space is made available for each of us to make space for each other. Each big space and small space provides room and support for kindness, creativity, healing and beautiful thoughts.

Come over for dinner. – Emily and Russ

I am saving a seat for our guests. – Rod

Will you help me use Adobe Premiere? – Eric

Yes, I will walk with you. – Mike

Family camping trips would be cool. – Corey

I will help you cook. – Keith

I will make the applesauce. – Mark

I would love to come to your family thanksgiving. – Kevin

Tables with open seats available with people to engage with you when you sit down. – the new normal.

Our community is made up of kind acts of community.

4 Comments

  1. I love this, Jake!
    Your description of the Village made me laugh and cry.
    I have also struggled to wrap words around this place.
    You did it so beautifully. Thanks for sharing your experience of discovery with us.
    -Sue

    • Thank you for the kind words Sue – I enjoy positive feedback – thank you 🙂

  2. Yes! You summed up a struggle I’ve had since starting the Village, too. Feeling like the in-the-box answers do so little to adequately describe what we have in our community. I stopped saying church and started saying “faith community” because – Christ follower or not – people pause and want me to explain what the heck I’m talking about. Otherwise I end up saying something awkward, like, ‘I go to church…but it’s not, like, a normal church.” Which then makes people kind of feel weird and NOT want to hear more, lol.

    • I completely understand. When I tell someone my church is ‘different’ – I mean it as a good thing but it is often taken as a negative comment.

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