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Some Simple Thoughts about our Church Gatherings

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in blog links, gathering | 7 comments

Some Simple Thoughts about our Church Gatherings

My friend Chris blogs over at “Simple Thoughts“… and thus the title of this post. I want to point you to a post he recently wrote called “Normal.”

Chris shares some of the things his family has been going through recently – specifically related to wife’s ongoing health issues. However, he also gives a brief description of our church gatherings.

You see, a few weeks ago, Chris and his family starting gathering with us on Sunday mornings.

This is the way that he describes those times of meeting together:

Now they conduct church different than the norm. There is no loud bands or video presentations, or people talking and carrying on hundreds of different conversations. This is a small community, of faithful God fearing people wanting to learn more about the Scriptures than what is preached at the pulpit, or discussed in the 1 hour (really 30 or 45 min) Sunday school class. They set out folding chairs in a small room. There is no pulpit. They have hymnals spaced about on about every other chair. They use their hymnal and select songs that have been on their heart. There is not one person selecting songs, it is a community choosing songs. Either before or after each song selected, the person that chose the song, expresses why they chose that song. Usually it is due to being their favorite, or it is because sometime during the week or lately, that song has touched their heart during a situation in their life. They pray, and then they discuss scripture. Yes, there is someone who is leading the discussion. But he is not there to state how it applies to him but all understand there is one meaning and many applications. So we get to hear the different applications that pertain to that different part of scripture. There is no time limit on the discussion. Then they pray over prayer requests that are shared and eat together afterwards. Keep in mind, there is no nursery, or children’s church. These are families, gathering as families, to share life and scripture.

I was really concerned more about what my teen children were thinking about the whole gathering. Come to find out they enjoyed it. They stated that they do not walk away confused but understand the scripture better, because they here different perspectives to the application of scripture. This allows them to hear from different people, mainly adults, on how they have applied scripture to their lives in order to glorify God.

I appreciate Chris writing about us. I had a chance to talk with him about the last part of his description – mainly, the benefit of several people speaking, teaching, encouraging, etc. when we gather together. Hopefully, I’ll have time to write more about that soon.

Like I’ve said before, I describe us a “hybrid” – somewhere between the more traditional, institutional side of the church and the more organic, simple side. Of course, that just means that our gatherings tend to frustrate people from both sides. That also means that our gatherings give us constant opportunities to not only edify one another, but also to give up our own preferences for the sake of our brothers and sisters – whether those preferences lean toward the organic side or the institutional side.


7 Comments

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  1. 1-23-2012

    Alan, I am a little confused why this would be considered hybrid. It sounds a lot like any meeting I have attended that was self described as organic. Could you please explain the difference.

  2. 1-23-2012

    Tom,

    I can understand the confusion based on this particular description. As a church, we have a name and a bank account. We rent a place to meet, and we are incorporated. These are all usually considered more traditional/institutional characteristics.

    -Alan

  3. 1-24-2012

    “Like I’ve said before, I describe us a “hybrid” – somewhere between the more traditional, institutional side of the church and the more organic, simple side. Of course, that just means that our gatherings tend to frustrate people from both sides. That also means that our gatherings give us constant opportunities to not only edify one another, but also to give up our own preferences for the sake of our brothers and sisters – whether those preferences lean toward the organic side or the institutional side.”

    This also fairly describes this blog, and it’s one of the many things I love about Alan’s posts and the conversations of the group of folks who gather here. The core allegiance here is to scripture (and not to a prepackaged solution, which almost always go beyond scripture with our denominational/movement platforms). And it isn’t focused on the theoretical -olgies, but on the every day living out of these things in community with other saints. Aspirations become tempered with the humility of our reality and frailty, rather than becoming ardently idealistic and demanding with the imagined superiority of knowing the letter apart from undertaking to do it.

  4. 1-24-2012

    Oh, and another thing about the folks at Messiah (that might seem a small or petty thing to notice). I joined them again this past week for their study on teaching.

    I’ve always thought one of the ways we can demonstrate esteeming others better, and loving others, is for those who are healthy and arrive early to park furthest from the door. Of course, you know how it typically goes: just the opposite. One might uncharitably imagine someone saying (and thinking themselves a good example at the same time), “I came first, so I deserve the best parking spot, and everyone will see that I arrived first/early.”

    Arriving late, the two parking spots closest to the door were empty.

  5. 1-25-2012

    Art,

    Thanks for the kind words about my blog. As you well know, I am not perfect and neither are the folks at Messiah. But, it’s good to know that at least in the area of parking we are sharing concern for others. :)

    -Alan

  6. 1-25-2012

    Thanks for the additional information guys, that actually helps me understand much better.

    I agree with you Art. I have benefited tremendously from the strong scriptural priority that Alan has presented here. I have been following Jesus a long time and He has taken my wife and I on some unexpected journeys like the one we are on now. As we try to find our way the touchstones of the scriptures and the reference points they give on the way help me know my steps are in His path even if they are sometimes unfamiliar.

    Thanks for all you put into this blog Alan.

  7. 1-26-2012

    Tom,

    Thank you for reading and commenting! I like what you said about Scripture helping us to know that we are walking in his path, even when things are unfamiliar.

    -Alan