In our series, “PRACTICES,” we’re exploring the central things that shape our lives as Christians and as a community. We do this in preparation for COVENANT SUNDAY on NOV. 6TH when we’ll each of us who feel called will make commitments as Covenant Members of this community, articulating how we will engage our faith in practice here. So far we’ve discussed Sacraments & Worship, Food & Hospitality, and now we want to take a fresh look at Community.
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13:34-35
Our Christian Community is marked by love. The command is simple, the implications are more complex. Love God. Love People. Community is the context of church isn’t just about a club of like-minded people who enjoy…it’s a web of deep relationship where we share more than the superficial stuff of life. Don’t get me wrong, we really enjoy being together (last Sunday’s AFTER HOURS at the bar, was fantastic). But how can community be something more? What happens when strangers become family? When spectators become participants and creators?
It is happening around the tables of DINNER CHURCH, and it extends into our offices, homes, and neighborhoods. Here’s your weekly journaling guide that walks you through your own reflection:
Prepare: What do you bring with you to your community? Write down what gifts, interests, passions, or ideas you have to share. It doesn’t have to be stuff you might think of as “church-y,” but what are you good at in general? What gets you fired up? What would you do if you if you could do anything?
Day 1: This week, you’ll dig into the practice of community by finding ways to use your passions, talents, and connections in your church. Some people have a hard time with this – they feel they aren’t invited or welcomed to involve themselves in their faith community. So start in this practice by writing down some thoughts about what might hold you back from investing yourself in your church. What could you do to get over some of these hurdles?
Day 2: Remember that list you made of your gifts and interests? Look over what you wrote. Now get specific about the talents of interest or resources you have that could help you get more involved in your faith community. Think creatively: maybe you’ve raised your kids already and could mentor a younger parent. Maybe you live close to the airport and can offer rides when people need to fly somewhere. Write down some options.
Day 3: Today, explore our church’s website or send an email to Pastor Ashley to find out what opportunities for involvement already exist in our faith community. You don’t need to commit to anything yet, but don’t rule anything out either. Just get a sense of what’s already going on in your community. Make some notes about places you can see yourself using the skills and interest you listed yesterday.
Day 4: Now that you’ve got a sense of what you can offer and what’s already happening in your community, take today to pray or talk to a friend or two about taking the big step toward true involvement. What feels scary about this? What feels hopeful?
Day 5: If you get this far and just haven’t found something that feels like a good fit for you, consider how you might create that fit. If you brew your own beer or have a knack for gardening or tell great stories, think about how those skills could create new ways for you – and others – to connect in your community. Write down your thoughts.
Day 6: This is the day to take action. If there’s a group at church you’d like to join, call or text the person coordinating that group and let them know you’re interested. If you’ve got an idea for a new event or project in our faith community, arrange to meet with Pastor Ashley to talk about how you can make that happen. As you get started, write about how it’s going. What are you learning about community? About yourself?