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Micro Churches

LifeLine is fundamentally about church. It's about being church in a different way than people in North America are used to seeing it, and different than the way the vast majority of churched folks are used to experiencing it.

We believe that it's important for the medium to match the message we talk about. That is, all the talk we hear in churches today about community, authenticity, accountability, cooperation, lay ministry, the priesthood of all believers, etc. deserve more than just the lip service to which they are so often limited. We believe that it is possible for church to be practiced in such a way as to actually make it possible for a group of people to experience the kind of transformative, vital faith about which so many talk but few ever see. (If you'd like to learn more about how faith is developed and nurtured, and how spiritual formation works in a micro church environment, you can read the monstrous tome written by Becky and me called, "Creating a Holistic Formational Ethos" - yes, I am serious - in the Vault section of the website)

We believe that micro (small, simple, house, etc. depending on whose parlance you might read) churches offer the best possibility for this to take place. This is not to say that other forms of church are wrong or inferior; it is to say that we believe the people and time to which we are called lead in this direction. So...our primary form of building spiritual community is micro churches in neighborhoods, coffee shops, arts centers, etc. In these kinds of environments we believe skeptics and people disconnected from more "normal" institutional churches find reason to hope again; we all find something to believe in as we see Kingdom and Gospel lived out in real life up close. (If you are interested in reading more about the kind of Christian apologetic this represents for our time, check out the article "It's About the Questions" in the Vault section of our site.)

Collingwood Church

2040 Collingwood Blvd.
Toledo, Ohio 43620

Sundays at 5:00 pm

Google Maps

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Community Dinners

So I met this guy at a hippie coffee house in Toledo, and he told me about a group of artists at the Collingwood Arts Center. They're all poets, and some are other kinds of artists, too. Realizing that most of this talented group fit the term "starving artists," we decided to ask the group over for a chili supper in the end of September 2007. It was a night of such great community and joy and art that, well, we just had to do it again! Then we did it again! And again! And...well, you get the picture.

That first dinner together with 15 or 18 of our artist friends turned into the LifeLine Community Dinner. It takes place the first Saturday night of each month at the North's house in Toledo. It's a "come when you can; leave when you must" sort of event - and LifeLine Steve will usually try to inhibit the departure of anyone who tries to leave too early! It's always a great night of food, conversation, poetry, live music, bonfires and more. There's always a LOT of food. People come from all walks of life, and learn to love being together. At any given time, there are 8th grade dropouts and Ph.D's, and everything in between; people with no house and others living in mansions in the suburbs, and everything in between; people with no jobs and people who are CEO's, and everything in between. The beauty of it is that there is no "us and them" at this gathering; it's just all "us." You can't tell who's who, and there's no reason to try. There are typically around 100 people that attend during the course of every first Saturday night Dinner. And did we mention there is always a LOT of food!

The Community Dinners have become a hallmark of the community life of LifeLine. Everybody belongs. Period. And in its atmosphere of mutual respect and love, acceptance and appreciation, many people have found a community they trust and don't want to live without. Many have found a reason to hope that maybe not the ENTIRE world is going to h-e-double-hockey-sticks-in-a-handbasket. And many have found a reason to believe again in something they had given up on, for whatever reason. We don't care about the reasons as much as we care that people are disconnected.

In LifeLine, we believe that the community is the embodiment the Gospel, and that that embodiment is the most powerful and trustworthy communicator of the ideas and practices of the Kingdom about which Jesus taught, and whose ideals he dramatically lived. We believe our life together is, as Lesslie Newbiggin once said, the only apologetic any era will ever need (paraphrase). And in the light of that life together, the words we speak have the chance to powerfully corroborate the phenomenon of life in God's Kingdom - a life many have heard proposed but seldom seen in flesh and blood. The LifeLine Community Dinner is one expression of this powerful and transformative truth.

Here are the pertinent bits of information you need to know about the LifeLine Community Dinners:

When
The first Saturday night of every month, starting at 5:30pm and ending whenever everyone is gone - usually about 2:30 am.

Where
2040 Collingwood Blvd., Toledo, Ohio 43620

What to bring
Just yourself! Well, and maybe your family or a few friends! If you are a poet or a musician, bring your writing or instrument, or whatever will help you be what you are with us.

Why
Because it's freakin' amazing!

Directions
Map / Directions (Google Maps link)

 

Come on! You should really check it out!

LifeLine Steve

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Sacred Spaces

We admit it. Our idea of sacred spaces is probably a little different than most; a lot different than some. For us, a sacred space is more about the opportunities for meaningful engagement with people, as God makes those engagements possible, than it is about the space being set apart, decorated a certain way, or having a schedule for the sacred moment we expect. Our sacred spaces are more than a little messy a lot of the time.

One of the main places we've found or made sacred for the past three and a half years has been a coffee house now known as The Ground Level Coffee House (see link below). When we first started to discover God hanging out in this space, it was called Brewed Awakenings. We loved the hippie atmosphere, the college students, and the psychic reader who read tarot cards and palms on Monday nights. Not only did we find God in our conversations with each other when we gathered, but in our encounters with and loving of the staff and customers. It has been a sacred space more times than any of us could count.

The same could be said of the poetry nights at the Collingwood Arts Center, the fire pit of my homeless squatter friend, miscellaneous parking lots, Toledo's Tent City event, one another's homes, on an old purple and gold bus downtown, the living room of a Catholic charismatic retreat center, and many more. In each of these places we have been repeatedly surprised by the beauty and power that come when we meet God in unexpected places and times, or hear Kingdom truth from an unexpected source. In the process, we have come to be comfortable with the not knowing when God might meet us - or how - and to treasure the opportunities in which we get to venture into a space pregnant with eternity.

A central aspect of our community is to recognize that these times and places are often where "church" is most real, most powerful, most intimate and most transformative. It may be irregular and messy and uncontrollable, but it's also sacred in ways our buildings and programs miss. For us, to restrict ourselves to scheduled "church" would mean missing church in ways sleeping in on a Sunday morning would never produce.

ground level

tent city

 

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Partnerships

LifeLine does almost everything in cooperation with someone else. This interrelatedness is an important part of what we believe about both the Church and the world, and is an important part of our dna. It's also an important part of being in a community larger than our own little circle.

Symbiosis is a mutually beneficial relationship in which each participating entity is supported, helped and sustained by each of the others. Even more, it produces a kind of synergism that affects the systems around it beneficially, as well. LifeLine views its partnerships in ministry as an important expression of our symbiotic DNA.

Below you will find link to the websites of our ministry partners. Please check out their websites: who they are, what they do, and how you can be involved. We think you'll fall in love, just as we have!

food for thought

1matters

new harvest

nhainc

buses

cherry st mission

toledo streets

 

 

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