I had a conversation with a woman at the bank today, leaving me feeling like we are doing the right thing with this community growth. I am amazed that this particular teller is so good at remembering conversations that we have had over the last few months. I have told her about this new community that we are seeking to grow and mentioned our gathering on Sunday nights. She warmly and politely told me in a past conversation that church is not something that she is particularly interested in. But she wished me well. So today, she asked how things were going.
Very well, I told her. Connections were happening and we are beginning to see what this community might be about. I told her it is difficult to think of it as church because it is so different than how I, and many others, have seen church in the past. It is so decentralized and not so focused on getting people in the door. She mentioned that she had heard about some other new churches that were starting up and seemed to have some good advertising. I mentioned my friendship with those pastors but made the distinction that we really are doing something quite different.
We don’t want to get anyone anywhere. Our hope is to meet people where they are at and connect with them through relationships, groups, and other means. Our Sunday gathering is really for those who feel a desire to study the Bible, pray, and go deeper. We hope to join people with what they are already doing. In this sense, we can be connected all over the place and not specifically with one place.
It really looks like this:
I guess in all actuality it still looks kind of different than that… as perhaps there is no real center that we intend to gravitate people towards. There is the Spirit running through things… the Spirit of God… and I would affirm that God is doing things in many different places as the kingdom is realized on this Earth. It is our hope to find where that is and add fertilizer to that growth. We want to meet people where they are at and give them the opportunity and option to go as deep as they want to go.
If you have heard of the relational set (or some would say “fuzzy” set) – versus the closed or bounded sets – this will be familiar to you. I feel as though what we are doing is epitomizing the relational set.
I didn’t tell my particular bank teller about these sets, or get nearly as into the details as I have here, but as I told her, there was something in her eyes that said, “This is different.” We parted with her confirmation that she indeed would be thinking about this different way of engaging with people. A connection made.