[going back about 8 years]
Andrea and I were newly married, fresh out of college and ready to take on the world through an adventure we called church planting. Little did we know how “not ready” we were and how much refining was ahead of us (and still is ahead, thank God). But ready or not, sometimes God has ideas and you just follow His voice. So that’s what we did. We followed His voice into the vast unknown, the adventure of a lifetime and the ultimate character-shaper…and we’re so glad we did!
Over the years, ClearPath has become our home. Not just a building, but the people have become our home. We have grown as a couple in the incubator of family. We’ve bumped heads, cried tears of pain and tears of joy, questioned ourselves and wrestled with God, but we are better people because of this people. ClearPath has been the biggest blessing of our lives.
We started our journey praying in our home with another couple. Then we added friends and family to the mix, and before you knew it, we were all-out launching a church by way of a community outreach in the eastern Dallas area. The excitement was tangible. And we were shocked it was actually happening – the dreams in our hearts coming to reality. We did church the culturally normal way – worship & sermons on Sunday mornings, the occasional gospel outing and prayer meeting, and eventually added home groups a couple of times a month because we knew we needed that discipleship element. We did our best with what we knew. We were growing, we were thriving and then God hit us with a bomb in the Fall of 2016.
We always knew we were called to reform. And reforming was what He was asking us to do. At one of those occasional prayer meetings, He spoke clearer than we’d ever heard Him before. His statement was simple but carried big power: “Come follow me. Let the dead bury the dead.” We knew it was time to give something up, to let something die so something new could take its place, to lay our comfort down for the sake of something bigger than us. So we called our church family into a season of prayer.
Over the next months of almost nightly prayer in our home, God asked us the question, “How would you do church if you had never seen it modeled before?” Wow. Dangerous question, God. It certainly wouldn’t look like what we had made it. We began looking at the first ever church in the Bible, the church of the apostles, and we saw something different than what we saw in modern day church.
Instead of big buildings filled to the brim with programs and sermons attempting to bring the lost ones inside, we saw individuals empowered and going out into their communities to bring transformation. We saw the church doing life together on a more than one time a week basis, breaking bread in their homes, building relationships with each other, gathering around the table of the Lord…not the pulpit. When they gathered in large groups, it was a time for worship, prayer and the building-up of the saints, not a “catch all” service to reach everyone and do everything possible at once.
So at the beginning of 2017, we began to deconstruct our preconceived ideas of what church was. Instead of our main focus being on the corporate gathering, where everyone is ministered to, needs met and all facets of church (worship, teaching, sermon, gospel, prayer) smashed into a 2-hour, once weekly meeting, we got back to the basics, to the essentials of church.
For us that took on a different model of church and a different focus entirely – we call them house churches. These communities meet in homes across the Dallas area that are led by different families where people are encouraged, empowered, serve together and find God through relationship. We also host weekly prayer meetings, weekly corporate gatherings (where all house churches meet together for worship & teaching) and other events at a corporate location. We have seen individuals blossom and find a place to belong, relationships grow and those outside of the church find transformation in their lives. It’s been a beautiful journey – one that’s just getting started!
Don’t get me wrong, I have all the love for what the modern day church has seen, done and accomplished…because it has done amazing things! Things that we have done, supported and been a part of! But for ClearPath, we feel that God is stripping away excess, doing something less production-oriented and more authentic, more presence-oriented. It’s time to get back to the essentials of church, and we invite you into our journey of discovery.