I was about 16 when my folks first went to the meetings at Merle Fuller’s home in Scottsdale Arizona. About 100 excited folks were packed into his spacious living room to hear him talk about “the body of Christ,” and the new thing God was doing in the church.
It was a dynamic season; the Spirit stirring folks out of their traditions toward a richer encounter with God. Bob and Lois went there for a couple of years; I went sometimes to flirt with a girl from my high school.
However, like everything that involves people, a few weird things happened and eventually my folks settled into a recently organized church that had been born out of the ‘new thing’ God was doing. People’s Church was their fellowship till, in a couple more years, they stopped attending church altogether . . . choosing to serve the Lord sort of ‘on their own.’ They maintained a robust faith but they definitely lacked spiritual fellowship.
I’ve observed this cycle for sixty years now, among good people who are hungry for God. The movements of the Spirit are almost always impossible to ‘contain,’ much like Israel’s Manna in the wilderness. I doesn’t ‘keep’ very well; you have to obtain a fresh supply each day. So, when we organize and systematize our faith, which most good folks invariably choose to do, it begins immediately to become something else; something different over time than the thing which stirred us so powerfully in the first place.
“Green Pastures” was the term my Mom used to describe their search for fresh things from the Lord. There’s an interesting thing about sheep; the shepherd always keeps them moving to find fresh grass to consume . . . ‘cause left in one place they trample things pretty badly. Soon everyone’s chewing on stubble.
The Antioch Group is our humble attempt to let the Spirit choose for us an agenda and direction meeting to meeting, and to draw from His presence and from the richness He has invested in the folks that have gathered. And we hope to keep moving under His direction toward the ‘green grass’ of wisdom and revelation. Our anchor, our ‘stability,’ is solely the grace and mercy of God.
For those observing us, well, there’s not much to see. A handful of earnest believers reaching for whatever is in the hand of our Master. For those walking with us, our collective eye is on the Good Shepherd. Without any doubt, He’s the only one who knows where we’ll be feeding tomorrow, but we’ve found He has never allowed us to hunger when we stayed near Him.
So, where are we going? Well, beginning with our next meeting in August, we’re going to start another journey. Lord willing, it will turn out to be really green pastures for those who join us. But it does have a name; ZION.
It’s one place you can safely stay, and put down roots!