Trinity Family Fellowship

September 26, 2007 at 10:15 am 2 comments

The first time Linda and I visited Trinity Fellowship in Oklahoma we were gun shy about churches in general and leaders of churches in particular.  The people we had met from Trinity talked about family in ways that we found very attractive but given what we were going through at the time, with the leaders of the church I had pastored for 16+ years, we were pretty skeptical.

For 16+ years we thought we were part of a family, but when I  chose to live outside the boundaries of the Father’s intentions for me, rather than to circle the wagons around a fallen family member, the leadership decided (it seemed to us) to make an example of me and in turn my family and put us out of the church we considered our family.  Linda, would tell you that what hurt most about the whole situation was the rejection by those she considered to be her family.

All of that to say, when we first heard the people from Trinity talking about family we had to see it to believe it.  So over a two year period we came and visited a couple of times and we are now here for an extended and indefinite time.

When Andy Taylor started this fellowship almost 20 years ago he was determined not to just have another church but to be a place where people could come and find real acceptance and genuine love.  Right from the start Trinity has been the place for people “nobody else wanted” and the place where, not only you could be yourself, but the place where you could find out who your Father intends you to be. 

There is little pretentiousness here, in fact there is so little of it, I doubt anyone even knows what the word means.  I don’t say that to demean anyone but to say these folks are so determined to be who they are and let you be who you are they don’t use words or say things just to try and  impress. 

For the last several years, Trinity has used an old steak house for it’s offices and worship facility.  While the nearly 100 acre property is beautiful the buildings are not much, over crowded and lacking in almost every area most churches would consider normative.  But for us that has been part of the charm.  No one comes to Trinity because it is a comfortable building or because you can sneak in and enjoy the place without being noticed.  If you are part of this Family, it is because you are drawn to the people and the love they pour on you. 

The offices are one way you can tell this is a Family and not a church.  No one has much privacy. Two of the pastors desks face each other and “their” office is also the copy room, the receptionist office, the computer room, the work room, the waiting room and the lunch room.  The office staff share computers, telephones and work space.  A private office is an oxymoron. No one has much claim to their own space, everyone shares everything.  Pastor Andy’s office, though separate from the other “offices,” is the gathering place for anyone who happens to come by.  There are few private conversations and even less privacy to collect your thoughts.  While it sometimes drives me nuts, because I am so not used to this kind of environment, it is part of what it means to be Family and not a corporation.  If you are a young and growing family, kids may have to share a bedroom or make due with a smaller kitchen or family room but that is what families do. It isn’t always easy to get things done nor is it the most “effective” way to accomplish things, but it is Family.

When it is lunch time, someone puts out food for sandwiches or everyone goes together to lunch.  As far as I know, no one goes home for lunch or out by themselves. If you happen by at lunch time then you eat too. 

The Biblical phrase “no respecter of persons” is lived out here.  There does not seem to be any hierarchy here.  There are ex-drug addicts (and drug addicts) who are part of this family.  People who have been destroyed by their lifestyle, poor and disadvantaged, all are loved the same.  I have watched the pastors of this Family spend as much time, or more time with the broken and lost who wander in off the interstate, as they do with the leaders of the church or the world champion cowboys who come here to be part of what the Father is doing.  Linda and I have been accepted and affirmed here, not because of who or what we were, but simply because we were Family.

In a few weeks the Trinity family will move into a beautiful new building that sits on a hill about .5 a mile to the east of where our trailer is parked.  The biggest concern I have heard expressed about the new building is not about how many it will seat or what the technical stuff will be like, or how much it cost, but how much of an impact it will make on the unchurched being willing to come into it and the potential it might have to change who they are as a Family.  They are actually concerned that people will come because it is really nice and not because they want to be part of the Family.

The prayer here is “Father give us as many people as we can take care of”.  This morning a man prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for the old steak house the Father had given them to meet in and then thanked Him for “the new house you have given us for a bigger family”.  Attitude like that is what makes Trinity so compelling.  Nobody arrives or leaves without a hug and when you hear “rough and tough”cowboys say “I love you” to each other as they part it is clear why this is a Family and not a church.

There is a desperation here, not to get more people to come, or to build a bigger thing, but to hear what the Father wants for His family. At the Family prayer time this morning, I heard things like this prayed: “Daddy, if you don’t come and help us we can’t do this.”  Father, if you don’t show us how to do this, we won’t be able to do it.” Andy often says, “we are living proof that God can use anybody”.  That is not just rhetoric or false humility, he is completely serious and that kind of conviction is what makes them so desperate to hear from the Father. They believe the Church is His Family so why would they not be desperate to know what He knows and hear what He has to say to them.

Oklahoma is not our home.  There is no way we would have come to Oklahoma to be part of a church.  I cannot imagine any scenario that would have gotten us to sell everything we had, leave family and friends behind to be part of a church in western Oklahoma.

But we did not come to a church, we came to a Family. To a Family that is helping us to believe and trust again and to a leadership that lives out what it means to restore and heal, not just in our lives but in the lives of everyone who comes into the house.

How long will we be in western Oklahoma?  I don’t know?  How long will Trinity be our Family?  Eternally.

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Entry filed under: Authority, Belief, Church, Culture, Faith, Family, Friendship, Holy Spirit, Institutional church, Jesus, Supernatural, The Father, Thoughts.

Hearing the Father’s voice. Monday morning meanderings. Vol.14

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Larry  |  September 26, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    You are missed. Wish you were near by for coffee. I do enjoy your writings. Just don’t get too close to Ok.

  • 2. eblack  |  September 26, 2007 at 11:10 am

    that’s great that you’ve found a church like this. God has blessed me with a church family like this too. Most of the people who come to our New Horizon are on the “second chance” part of their journey and came to know Christ at our church. It is exhilerating to watch people experience the rescue of Christ.

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