We’re in Cambridge this month, hanging out with Matt Russell. Matt’s from the US where he planted a church called ‘Mercy Street’. The church started about 15 years ago in the front room of a friend’s house and grew to about 1000 people. But this isn’t the story of the planting and growth of a typical mega church though as about a third of ‘Mercy Street’ weren’t Christians and many of them were recovering addicts. Needless to say, Matt has a very interesting story to tell!
We found almost everything Matt said to be challenging and inspiring on some level, but the thing that struck me most was how Mercy Street managed to foster an atmosphere of such openness and honesty.
I loved the way Matt summed it up “Church should be the safest place to say the most risky things”. I’m sure we’d all agree with that, but how often do we see it? It certainly hasn’t been my experience. Rather than being the place for being honest, Church is more often the place where you pretend you’ve got it all together.
Matt said that actually this wasn’t something they had to work too hard at as so many of the people at the church were in recovery groups where openness and honesty were part of the culture.
It sounds like church has a lot to learn from these recovery groups then. Especially as really church should be the ultimate recovery group, as together we try to recover from our broken relationship with God.