“I immediately felt like ‘This is where I need to be right now.’”
Teaching Galatians 5:1
For many of us, Not So Churchy is a refuge from the world and a place to heal from what many of us have endured at other churches. We come to be ourselves, to sing, pray, listen, and to find solace and fellowship. At the beginning of our services, we let people know that if at any point they need to step out of the room and take a break, that’s fine. At the same time, we invite people to try something new. We describe Not So Churchy as an ‘Encouraging Space,’ a place where we support each other as we take risks, accept new challenges, stumble, learn, and grow together.
Most of us were daunted by the work of creating scripture presentations.
“I don’t know how to write music.”
“I’m not creative.”
“I hate my singing voice.”
“I speak publicly all the time, and yet I’m terrified of standing up in front of everyone at church.”
“I’ve had musical training, but everyone knows this and I’m afraid what I offer will be disappointing.”
In some cases, the anxieties arrived unexpectedly. Eric, for instance, has had extensive musical training and has served in other churches as a music director. The idea of writing and presenting a song around a piece of scripture presented no great challenge for him. But the scripture passage he drew carried echoes of the damaging church experiences in his past, where he had to hide his bisexuality. Turning that passage into song forced him to confront old demons.
As each of us created scripture presentations, our various discomforts became doorways for our discoveries about ourselves, each other, and the scriptures. We were often surprised to learn that someone who exudes confidence was actually terrified. We learned to respect and grapple with each other’s anxieties, not to dismiss them with sunny assurances. And we were moved as we saw those around us fight through their difficulties and produce something deeply meaningful to them and therefore to us.
Our discoveries required the affirming support of those around us, but they also required a loving push into our unease. As we learned how to create, we learned how to give and receive encouragement.
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