the weblog of Alan Knox

Gathering with the Church

Posted by on Jun 28, 2010 in gathering, personal | 9 comments

Gathering with the Church

We meet with the church at various times throughout the week: some planned, some unplanned. But, we have decided to get together every week on Sunday mornings at 10:30. What happens when we get together? Well, it’s different from week to week, but yesterday would be a good example of a “normal” Sunday morning gathering with the church.

As a group, we’ve decided to rent a place to meet, and we begin our Sunday meeting there are 10:30. We are very much relational driven, not event driven, so we will rarely “start” at 10:30 – whatever start means. But, people will begin gathering just before 10:30, and people will generally continue arriving until 11:00, sometimes later.

Around 10:45, my friend Danny began to play guitar and lead us in a few songs. Between songs, someone would ask about someone else, that person would share about what was going on with their family – usually because of travel or sickness or something like that.

We generally read one chapter of Scripture together each week. This week we started reading the Gospel of John, and three people took turns reading portions of that chapter.

My friend Jim led our study in Genesis. This week, we were studying chapter 10-11. We had a great time discussing those chapters and talking about pride and humility and God’s plan and the seed… etc.

We continued our meeting by praying for one another and for various specific requests that people may have. For example, we prayed for Danny and me as we’re preparing to go to Ethiopia, and we prayed for us as a church for opportunities to proclaim the gospel and disciple others. There were other prayer requests and other times of prayer as well.

At this point, we generally take a break. We have time to talk to one another more intimately and in smaller groups. For example, I was able to talk to a friend who had just broken up with his girlfriend. I hope I was able to comfort him a little, but I do know that I now know how to pray for him better and how to encourage him during the week.

It was encouraging to hear a couple of ladies talking more about our discussion of Genesis. They were talking about how it applies to them and how they can help one another in a certain area.

Eventually, some people left because they had lunch plans elsewhere. Others left to buy something to eat at local restaurants. Others of us began to get our food ready and set up tables.

Soon, as people began returning with their food, we started eating together. We sat around the tables eating and talking for a long time. This can last for some time – an hour or two.

Just as a couple of friends began to get their guitars out, I left to take Miranda to a friend’s house. I can imagine the fun that our brothers and sisters had playing music, singing, and listening. Others made plans to watch a movie together that afternoon.

I don’t know what happened after that, because I wasn’t there. But, that’s a small glimpse into one morning/afternoon with the church in our life. It’s a small part of our life together, and it’s all the more special because of the other time that we spend with one another.

We’re certainly not perfect. But, we’re learning to love one another and care for one another – even when we meet together.


9 Comments

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  1. 6-28-2010

    Alan,

    Wow. That sounds wonderful. Things have certainly changed since the Stone Chapel days.

    One question: How do you all handle the Lord’s Supper?

  2. 6-28-2010

    Sounds awesome.

    But are you allowed to just leave like that? Lol.

    Hey, that looks like a photo of people you actually meet together with as the church! You need to get some professional “church” growth marketing company to set you up with some ad slicks to reach your target audience.

    Isn’t it funny that “pastors” who use marketing materials to reach a target “audience” quite often bemoan the fact that so many in their organization seem to act like a passive audience? Strange.

  3. 6-28-2010

    Alan,

    Having spent some time there with you and the brothers and sisters that meet together with you on a regular basis, I can say that I was truly blessed and edified by the way in which you meet together. I think you’ve got a good thing going.

    In order to tease this out a little further, though, I wonder how some of the dynamics you have described here might change if your regular group grew to several hundred people or more? What types of decisions might need to be made in order to facilitate the continuation of the same type of dynamic you are describing here?

  4. 6-28-2010

    Eric,

    Currently, we don’t call our normal lunch “the Lord’s Supper”, although it’s difficult to find the distinction in Scripture. When we have “the Lord’s Supper”, we generally have a pot-luck lunch instead of everyone bringing their own lunch, and we start with bread/cup.

    Hutch,

    Yeah, our marketing campaign is not very flashy. But, what do you do with a marketing budget of $0? :)

    David,

    Actually, we’ve been talking about that alot lately. As I mentioned in a previous post, our plans are to grow by starting other groups/churches, not by increasing the number of people that meet in that same place at the same time.

    -Alan

  5. 6-28-2010

    Just curious… If you’re already a large enough group to need to rent a place to meet together, is it maybe time already to start some new gatherings?

  6. 6-28-2010

    Norma,

    We’ve had a discussion about that as well. Believe it or not, we started as a very traditional church. For the last six years, our meeting places have gotten smaller and less expensive. Will there be a time when we don’t rent a place to meet? I don’t know.

    -Alan

  7. 7-9-2010

    I didn’t realize you all rented a place. Sounds like a great gathering though. We are gathering in our home with a small group but we do it after the kids have gone to bed. I wonder how you all incorporate or ‘handle’ families with young children in your gathering time at the rented space? :)

  8. 7-9-2010

    randi,

    Since the space we rent only has one room, we all stay together. We often have fussy babies or laughing babies or talking babies… that’s just what babies do. We love them and understand. Toddlers often walk around our circle of chairs, or right through the middle… no problem. Also, when a family needs help, someone else often offers to play with the babies/toddlers for a while. I think one of the ways that our attitude toward babies/toddlers is different is that we don’t necessarily think that we’re there just to hear what someone has to say. We may be in that place with these people just so we can watch a toddler and give a mom or dad a break.

    -Alan

  9. 7-9-2010

    very cool!

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