Going Offline For Fellowship at Searching Together
I will be offline until at least Sunday night because I will be participating in the “Searching Together” gathering northwest of Chicago. I have been looking forward to this all year. It will be awesome to see old friends and make new ones while partaking of the Christ in one another during totally open and free, Spirit led fellowship. Below I am posting my report from last years gathering. I sincerely hope others out there can make the worthwhile trip next year……..
Searching Together Gathering 2015
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5: 21
“”Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.” Isaiah 1: 18
This past weekend I had the honor and pleasure of being a participant in this years Searching Together event. We gathered Thursday through Sunday just West of Chicago Illinois at a venue that provided us an opportunity for a true communal living experience in beautiful guest apartments with three bedrooms each. We met together under the Headship of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit. We broke bread together with glad and sincere hearts and all of our times of fellowship were extremely sweet and profitable. Everything we did we did together including making necessary decisions by consensus as a true ekklesia always should. We cooked, shopped, ate, cleaned, openly shared, discussed and sang together as one Body in Christ.
This year’s gathering like last years was intentionally more open and conversational than previous events. Instead of having 40 minute teachings followed by 40 minutes of questions and interaction, every session was allowed to be totally free, open and interactive from the start. Our focus was on dialogue rather than monologue and Spirit led interruption was welcomed and encouraged.
In a word it was WONDERFUL. It was perhaps the best national gathering (We had folks there from coast to coast) I have participated in since 1996 at Potato Creek Indiana. We were encouraged and allowed to have totally open and free, Spirit led fellowship without the hint of any hierarchy, manipulation or human control. The flow of the Holy Spirit was very rich and deep and everyone got to share their portion of truth in love with the entire group. Plus believe it or not we did not experience even one moment of contention or sharp disagreement.
We were small in number, but mighty in Spirit. There were folks there from Washington, Utah, Arizona, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Connecticut. One couple was brand new into relational, organic, simple, house church and had many questions for those of us who left institutional, traditional religion, behind us many, many years ago. When you church relationally no question is ever off limits. That type of freedom to sincerely question anything and everything is one of the many marvelous benefits of totally free and open fellowship.
As we took turns sharing we simply submitted to the Christ in one another and the overwhelming fruit was sincere love. In prayer, song and word we lifted our voices and Jesus met us there in a deep and substantial way. I have been gathering and interacting in this free and open manner since 1976, and not once have I been disappointed. When you put away all agendas and yield to the Spirit’s leading and teaching through each member of the Body the Truth in Love just flows to the benefit of all involved.
At this simple gathering my relationship with Jesus grew deeper, as did my relationships with the other participants. Wow, it is a true blessing to be honestly able to say “participants” instead of mere attendees. Special thanks to Jon, Dotty and all the others that worked to help this event happen. I am really looking forward to 2016. Those folks are more than friends…they are family!
Kirk Out !
p.s. On my drive home from Chicago I stopped for coffee and had a meaningful conversation with the man sitting at the table beside me. Warren asked me where I was coming from and I told him, “a fellowship gathering” near Chicago. He then asked if it was a “Church conference”? I told him, “Not really” and explained to him the nature of the “Searching Together” events and he seemed quite interested and loved the concept of a totally open and free Jesus gathering where no “man” or Pastor was needed or wanted to lead such a thing. We must have spoken for over 20 minutes and then he asked me if I would pray FOR him to be able to find the type of authentic fellowship we had been discussing. I told Warren that I would pray WITH him and he agreed and we prayed right there in the middle of that toll road Starbucks. Please pray for him? I left him my contact information and hope to hear back from him soon. He lives in Toledo Ohio about 1.75 hours from here.
p.s.s. I have kept in touch with Warren this past year, but he has not yet found relational, organic, open fellowship in his community. I hope to go visit him in the next several months to encourage him.