Coming towards an end and a beginning.
We’re getting closer to being fully engaged in our new church plant. This week I’ve announced September 13th as my last day at my current church,. I will take a few weeks off to get refreshed, and then it’s going to be full steam ahead - moving to towards launching ‘The Church Project’. Right now we’re fully committed to finishing well where we are, which (for me) means a lot of preaching on camera. While this is all happening my mind is still ticking over thinking about what is coming next. We’ve had a lot of great experiences in our past churches - as well as a few really tough ones. Hopefully we’ve learnt a lot as we begin to plan and prepare to do something unique (at least where we are).
So here are three things I’ve been thinking about this week…
I love Sunday services, there’s something incredible about people gathering together to worship God together and to be encouraged and sometimes challenged by what whatever is being preached about. Some of my best friendships started and grew in conversation (or passing a footy) in the seats after church. But Sunday services can have some limitations as well.
There’s not always a lot of space to ask questions or have conversations that come out of the sermon topic. There’s not a lot for people who aren’t auditory learners. Sometimes there’s space for honest reflection but we’re often quick to move onto the next thing.
I’m really keen to try out some new things when it comes to corporate gatherings. Creating room for more voices to contribute is a top priority. Discussion panels, questions times, testimonies, and use of technology are all possibilities - but I’m sure there are more options to try new things. Encouraging conversation and connection is important. Leaving space for worship and reflection a necessity.
I’m excited to be trying to start up while meeting in large groups isn’t being encouraged. It gives us an opportunity to build a Christian community that doesn’t have a Sunday service as a focal point. Instead the priority is given to smaller groups, conversation and connection. If this becomes the essence of who we are as a church then anything we do on Sunday will benefit from it.
Unity and Diversity
Every church has a diverse range of opinions but people don’t often recognise this. Why is it that this happens? I think people have all sorts of opinions and beliefs that they’re afraid to share in church. out of fear they’ll be excluded. It’s much easier for a church to continue on if everyone agrees on everything. After all, aren’t we trying to make sure we are unified? Can we have unity if we secretly disagree with each other? More likely we’ll have a culture of secrets and fear where people hide they’re true thoughts and feelings.
Christians disagree on a huge amount of issues and when not handled well, these disagreements often lead to church and relationship breakdowns. This always come with a huge dose of anger, frustration and hurt feelings. No wonder people choose to hide they’re true thoughts! I might be idealistic, but I hope we build a church that is unified and diverse. Where people are encouraged to be open and thoughtful about what they believe. Where we can hold the tension of different opinions, biblical interpretations and experiences, and still express love and respect towards each other. I pray it’s a church where people don’t feel the need to hide, but can experience the love of God through the community around them.
If the last 5 months have taught me anything - it’s that there is SUCH a need for close knit community. To have those people you can trust, and people that are there for you even when you can’t physically meet together. I hope as we plant this new church it’s a place where deep strong relationships are formed, a place where you can say “these are my people”. I hope it’s a place people feel free to be themselves and are welcomed and accepted. I hope we create a church where the relationships are life giving.
I love being around people who bring out the best in me, who encourage me and challenge me when needed. I’m excited to be trying to build a church that creates space for these kinds of friendships to grow. It’s not always easy! We have all learnt that the more we open up to people - the more likely we are to be hurt, but there can be great reward when we’re willing to take the risk of being real with each other.
If you are interested in being a part of what we’re doing, we’d love to get to know you! So please reach out to us, so we can fill you in, and get to know you. You can contact us via our facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/thechurchprojectaustralia or email firstname.lastname@example.org