Tethered or untethered? Should church be allowed to soar with the Spirit or be consistently contained and controlled by confining cables?
I’ve been up in a tethered hot air balloon. We went straight up to the end of the tether (about 50 feet up) and stopped. We stayed in place for a couple of minutes and took in the view. Then we came back down to the same place we started.
However, I’ve never been up in an untethered balloon. I’ve never risen high in the heavens in a basket (or gondola). I’ve never soared free, for miles with the wind, and landed in a brand new place.
I’ve spent much of my life going to church meetings tethered by tradition and tied to a theatrical talk. It’s always tightly controlled. We go so far and stop. And then we are set back down in what seems to me like the same place we started.
However, I’ve always longed for untethered, unprogrammed, church meetings. I’ve wanted to rise high in the Heavens. I’ve dreamed of soaring free with the Spirit and coming down in brand new places in Christ.
Then in 2008, The Salvation Army asked my wife and me to start a “nontraditional” church in an old chapel in Nashville, Tennessee. They said that we needed to do something outside the box, because traditional methods had never succeeded for them in that building.
So we drew upon my experience of untethered meetings in college. We were also influenced by the New Testament concept of “one anothering,” and by the Scripture in 1 Corinthians 14:26: “When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation . . .”
We meet and allow anyone present to share as they feel led by the Holy Spirit. The results have been amazing. The meeting flows freely, yet everything always comes together in a beautiful tapestry. Everyday people are eloquent as they speak from the heart as inspired by the Spirit. We soar together in God’s love and in His presence.
Come see and soar with us — every Sunday morning at 10:45 at 225 Berry St. in Nashville, Tennessee 37207.