3) Is the community you serve connected with a denomination? if "yes," what do you see as the benefits and problems with that relationship, and if "no," what do you believe are the benefits and problems with not being connected?
No, we aren’t connected with any organizations. We briefly pursued Acts 29, but quickly saw that our stance on women in leadership was a deal breaker for them, so…
We tend to pursue informal ties and relationships with other church communities, so we don’t feel completely disconnected. We have supported another church in town, The Bridge, almost from our beginning, and I meet with other pastors regularly. We’re not in a vacuum.
To be honest, I feel as though the future is post-denominational... At least the denominations we have now! More and more people are connecting to churches in spite of their denominational affiliation and not because of it. While denominations can provide money and support, they also serve up a lot of strings and red tape. And those are things we could do without… We started small, not needing a lot of seed money, and simply have never seen or felt the need to associate ourselves with a denomination. Very few people have ever asked me about denominational affiliation… it’s just not on the radar for those we seem to be reaching.
4) What would you say are the two hardest things connected to planting an emerging/postmodern community of faith?
Well, there’s no game plan, no road map. We’ve thrown out all the “how to’s” of advertising and marketing and even of how church normally functions. We haven’t started with a completely blank page… but darn close.
I think postmoderns need an open source community, one they can help create and tinker with and change… and that’s a challenge because it means re-inventing a lot of wheels- wheels that don’t necessarily need to be reinvented (we could buy some great children’s curriculum somewhere, for instance), but our community will be better because we’ve gone through the process of making things our own and making our own things. But it’s also a challenge for the whole community, to watch the ditches on the side of the road and make sure that in our rethinking and reinventing we don’t drift off into weird heresies or become so individualized that we lose sight of “one another.”
Also, we’re talking about people who have mostly not been connected with church, intentionally left church at one point, or would have left it soon. There’s a lot of issues there, and even some bitterness. It's hard, having by and large worked through our "anger phase" with church, to remember that others who are just coming now are still in process on that and need us to be understanding of the hurt they are expressing about Christian subculture and church in general.
We’ve had some people come to evergreen and find healing from past church hurts and abuses. Sometimes the baggage is too much and they end up spinning out again. We do our best, but not everyone connects with the community and some people find us “too much like church” (!) and others “not enough like church.”