We are in the middle of a message series at our Sunday worship gatherings on “Family.” We are taking a look at the family of Abraham and the covenant made by God as recorded in Genesis. This is a way for us to think about what it means to be called into a church community (family) today. Specifically, we have been paying attention to God’s purpose in establishing a covenant with Abraham and his descendants: That they would be a “blessing to all the nations.” We see this in the original call to Abraham and repeated numerous times afterward to various people. Here is a graphic that I borrowed as an illustration this past Sunday. Some people asked if I would post it here for reference. It can be found on “The Bible as it Is” blog.
Take a look at the following article that addresses the idea of interaction during preaching in the worship service: “What You Can’t Say in Church.” I would love to know what other’s think or have experienced with this. At Tidelands worship gatherings I have tried to allow time after many sermons for questions and interaction. I have found that it is often one of the most profound moments in our time together. However, I also know that we are small and that is one of the reasons that we can get away with it. I like the idea presented in the above article though: Preach for a bit, ask a discussion question to be talked about with those seated nearby, and repeat. Of course, coming up with a worthy question would be the key.
I just recently returned from “Soma School” in Tacoma, Washington. Jeff (another one of our leaders) and I spent a week living with and learning from the Soma community. They are a church based on missional communities that has done an excellent job training and equipping church planters. The “school” session that we were a part of was videotaped and will be a available on their website in the coming months for anyone to use. They already have audio up from previous schools.
I could share a ton more here, but if you’re interested you can check it out for yourself. What I really want to share has to do with some of my “takeaways.”
The first is simply this: As a church (and as pastors/leaders) we need to remain grounded in “being” rather than “doing.” Four questions to help us stay grounded in this are:
- Who is God? (Theology)
- What has God done? (Christology)
- Who are we? (Ecclesiology)
- What do we do? (Missiology)
When we get these in the correct order we stay grounded in the Spirit and empowered by who we are in Christ. If we get these in the wrong order we can fall into the trap of relying on our own strength rather than the Spirit’s power. We can also work backwards through these questions when we are anxious/worried/in crisis (i.e. What are we doing right now? What does what we are doing say about what we believe about ourselves, what we believe about what God is doing/has done, and what we believe about God?). While I’m certainly not expressing this as well as they do at Soma, I find it to be a very simple and helpful way of evaluating both the church and our own lives.
The second “takeaway” for me is less academic. I believe that we are on the right track with our first missional community and that we will begin to see more “fruit” from it in the next couple of years. We are building many great relationships with people that do not yet know Jesus. We have found many ways to be a blessing to our community without expecting something in return. Even with all of the support and amazing leadership available at Soma, many of their missional communities seem to take a couple of years to really begin to mature. I love that there is an amazing simplicity in all that they do that constantly brings people back to Jesus. All of the structure and planning is meant to serve a life and a community focused around Jesus. We can do this!