HCNbanner15A couple of years ago, I walked into one of the biggest churches in Calgary and was greeted with a handshake and a smile by “greeter.” (Do you think the role of greeter is a paid position?) I did not blend in with the crowd with my over worn jeans and under done style. After I was in the church for a total of two minutes I didn’t know where the heck I was. Can you blame me – They actually had one of those huge pedestal maps that you see in malls, which so nicely pointed out that I was “here.” I was looking for Chapel three so I could attend the “college and career” Sunday school. I walked down hallway one and back, then went upstairs, opened a door and walked in on a choir rehearsal, went back downstairs, couldn’t find the map to try and reorient myself and then gave up. Defeated, I asked a teenage girl for some assistance. After a were-you-born-yesterday-you-can’t-be-telling-me-you-are-actually-lost look she politely told me that Chapel three was right around the corner.

After Sunday school I spotted a coffee shop right inside the church, complete with barrister and chai lattes. With a bible in my left hand a caramel machiatto in my other, I was ready for the worship service. The sanctuary was fully loaded with a massive sound system, multiple screens, cameras flying around on mechanical arms, lights and a smoke machine. I figured I was in for a real show.

When did church become so complicated?

I grew up going to a church that was a renovated mechanic shop with a congregation of about 60 people (on a good day). No one ever had the name tag, “greeter” because everyone said hi to everyone. Growing up, I often dreamed of going to a “cool” church, thinking that my small country church was so lame. Now that I have been a part of some bigger churches and seen a number of other ways of doing church I am beginning to think maybe my church was not so bad after all.

There is a movement of people that are throwing out the mega church model and getting back to basics. Simple church, commonly known as “house church,” is not new and actually looks a lot like church did a couple thousand years ago. No need for a fancy degree to start one, just a desire to follow Jesus and passion for people. There is a great video at  that gives some insight into what simple church is all about.

You can see more here too, http://whatissimplechurch.com/ . I like the first interview in this series about simple church.

The Simple Way has been doing house church for ages. Their magazine, Conspire, is distributed by a network of house churches and other groups, see their listing here: http://www.conspiremagazine.com/index.php/pickup- Megan Kamei, editorial assistant

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