What Is "The Vibrant Edges" ministry?
What is The Vibrant Edges ministry? At this point it's just a part of my heartbeat. It is a ministry that I am certain that God has called me to begin. This ministry doesn’t actually have any kind of physical space at this time, and even if it does eventually find a home in a physical space here in Nashville, TN, it will most likely never look like any kind of church you’ve ever seen. I’ve called it “The Vibrant Edges” because I think that’s where most of us live … within, alongside or even outside the edges or the margins of typical churchey society. For most of us, we either did something to "break the rules" or in way too many cases, the church did something unintentionally to us that was uncaring or thoughtless, or they might have done something intentionally that was mean, or hateful. Regardless of why we find ourselves outside of the church, I think that there’s a longing for some kind of connection to that God we may remember from before the trouble began, that God who is for us. But if reconnecting to church means acquiescing to the often phony or pointless structures of the traditional Americanized Church, for the majority of us, that’s simply not going to happen.
I’ve used the word “Vibrant” for 3 reasons to describe this place around the edges where we find ourselves. First, because we the people who live in that outlying place are so incredibly diverse in so many beautiful ways: ethnicity, nationality, color, race, sexual orientation, gender and even religiously. Secondly, I've used this word, not only because of the diverse people who live there along those edges, but also because of that God we’re talking about connecting to. In dozens of places in the Bible’s New Testament, Jesus, the Risen Son of God, is described as being the Light of (or to) the world, and if Jesus is the light of all the world, and if we know from our 5th grade science classes that light is not just one color. We know that light is actually composed of an almost infinite array of vibrant colors, then we can know that Jesus, the Light, is incredibly diverse and vibrant in his very being. Finally, as I’ve intentionally spent a great deal of time over the last many years studying the life and ministry of that Jesus, I came to realize that he was most often found out on the edges. It was the place where He ministered and served and offered help and hope and healing. The place he chose to serve, was on the edges of religious and cultural society. Actually, almost every time when we see him working in the traditional religious spaces of his day, he was chastising the religious leaders and teachers of the law for their hypocrisy and for their neglect of those on the edges. So, to me, The Vibrant Edges is exactly the place where we are most likely to find God if we are really looking for him.