Hey everyone...with 2019 arriving we've reached the five year mark this month!! That's pretty cool for a little church that started as a crazy idea of a mission in the community, with the community - it's led to camping, cooking, painting alley-ways, breakfast clubs, halloween parties, movie nights, river swims, bus rides, ghostbusting, boardgame afternoons, karaoke and open mic nights, a truly crazy flea circus, and most recently a cafe!
With the cafe we saw things move from a 'busy' day of 20 people in our opening month to regular days of 80 or more! We fed people, we've trained people, we've learned new skills ourselves and a bunch of people who've never had a job in their life tell us they now have the confidence to apply for a job and can see themselves working one day. That's pretty cool by any measure.
At the same time, we've seen a couple of new faces join us, some old faces reconnect, and a few others disappear as well.
Building community together is a key ingredient in seeing God's kingdom come. Where people truly gather in Jesus' name, he said he'll be amongst us. It also stands against the consumerism that values people only by how much they've got to spend.
This year we want to ask people to commit to building that together, but we want your feedback on how we make sure it's sustainable, so we don't burn each other out in the process.
We're wondering about making a big deal of getting together on the first Sunday of each month - big discussion topic, lots of interaction, and a big shared meal together. Everyone commits and we all aim to be there.
The following Sundays might be a bit more relaxed - homegroup style gatherings, some social events, and a simpler approach to the meal.
On the last Sunday of the month, we'll host a family boardgame afternoon (with hot drinks & milkshakes).
It gives us a more structured rhythm, with a big focus on the start of each month, but hopefully isn't too pressured. We're keen to hear your thoughts though - so please take a moment to comment on the brief survey we've created here.
We've added some quick thoughts about what this could look like in practice below too, particularly the middle homegroup-style Sundays.
- 1st Sunday of the Month: make a big deal about getting together, everyone commits, we put some effort into a Local-style interactive discussion on a key topic, and then bring something for a big shared lunch.
- Middle Sundays: evening gathering in someone's home, potluck dinner, worship & prayer together.
- Last Sunday of the Month: family boardgame afternoons (with hot drinks & milkshakes).
For the homegroup-style gathering in the middle weeks, we'd focus on unpacking some of the big themes we cover in our 1st Sunday discussion and/or putting things into practice with prayer-sprints, scripture wrestling, service activities (meeting someone's practical needs), or 101 sessions on using the bible, praying for people, how to teach etc. Basically a focus on unpacking key themes from our big discussions and putting the 'disciples toolkit' into practice.
We could also work in more regular social events (walks, swimming, picnics, camping etc in Summer, movies, pot luck meals etc in colder seasons). We're keen for your thoughts on what to do about the shared meal on those weeks too - should we aim to eat together every week? What could we do to make sure that's not a burden? Could we help support people to do some entertaining and invite others round for lunch in each other's homes too?
We had some cool feedback on the boardgame club last year for the way it helped parents get their kids off devices and also helped engage some of those less inclined to our more 'sporty' outings. Keen to grow that a bit more too but with a simple, easy-to-remember schedule (like a lot of things, last year it was very haphazzard). We thought adding hot drinks might be a nice touch. We could also make it a gold-coin donation, which we put towards building up a game library that appeals to the regulars, and also teach interested kids to host their favourite games.
Keen for thoughts! Drop a comment or two in on the survey here.