Something From Something
By Rev. Greg Moore
One of the first things they teach Pastors in Theology 101 is how God creates.
The students all open their Bibles to Genesis 1, and they read the story of creation, where God makes swimmy things that swimmith and creepy things that creepeth, and while pondering the mystery of creation, the class is introduced to the doctrine of Ex Nihilo.
Don’t be scared off by the Latin. It simply means, “from nothing.” The idea is that God creates everything from scratch. Actually, from before scratch, because there is nothing to scratch together to form creation. God takes nothing, the doctrine states, and makes something. Ex Nihilo.
With all due respect, we in the Office of New Faith Communities beg to differ.
Genesis 1 doesn’t begin with nothing. It begins with God. More than that, it begins with Trinity (God continually refers to Godself in the plural in the primal creation story… “let us make humankind in our image.”).
Everything that God makes is not made from nothing but from the Divine Something that is everything. In other words, God does not create Ex Nihilo (from nothing) but Ex Communio (from the Divine Communion of God’s very self.).
This is critical to our work in New Faith Communities; because it offers us the deepest truth about how new faith communities are created. No church, Bible study, discipleship group or missional effort is created from nothing. They are all created from a communion of Saints who are participating in the life of Jesus together.
Churches don’t come up from out of nowhere. They come from churches who are birthing churches…communions birthing communions…disciples creating disciples.
The truth is that the Office of New Faith Communities will never start a new church. Conferences don’t birth churches. Churches birth churches.
Our biggest need right now is to partner with existing communions to help develop the imagination and practices required to create new faith communities.
We believe that God has much in store for the North Carolina Conference and that many new things are on the verge of coming to life among us. But God won’t do that work without us. Emmanuel insists on being God with us, incorporating us into the Divine work of creating life together.
If you or your congregation would like to discern if you are called to this work, please contact our office. We would love to partner with you to help you hear what God might be calling you to.
God is up to something among us. And whatever God creates will be birthed from the something that God has already made of us. That’s how this old story works…something always coming forth from Something.