Everyone knows the phrase “If you build it, they will come.” Field of Dreams. Too often it seems that churches slip into this mentality that if they just offer the right program, get the right pastor, play the right music, people will find enough interest to keep coming back. I grit my teeth as I wonder at what kind of community this creates.
Our Sunday night worship Gathering (5:30 Heritage Hall) just made the move from my house to Heritage hall as we expand and get more creative with how we might gathering and grow our community. We have been asking the questions about “Why we Do what we Do…” (INTRO HERE) We have been addressing every element to our gatherings and to “church worship” and assessing whether we have good reasons for doing what we do. This week we talked about “Sacred Space… Why do we meet here?”
In regards to building something that will attract people, we all cringed as we thought about this. We don’t just want to have people come because they want a hip, trendy, artsy, couch-church that doesn’t care if people dress up, swear, or forget to fix their hair. This is not why we create the space that we do.
What we do hope for is a place that tells the story of who we are. We hope for a place where the wonder and magic of God working in our lives is plastered to the walls, dripping from the ceiling, and rising up from the food that we share together. We long to see each other face to face and have a place that encourages us to be at home… in our own bodies, with each other, and with God’s presence among us. It is in “showing up” – present, real, and honest – that the sacred space happens. We desire to meet in Heritage Hall because here we can express who we are and who we hope to be… much different than meeting someone else’s house. That is someone else’s space and we cannot expand into it. The space cannot expand into us.
Our Sunday night Gathering is open to all. We wonder at how people, whether they are comfortable in church or not, will fit in our community. After all, we are in a church (a mark against us with the non-church folks) and yet we are not meeting like a normal “church” (a mark against us with the church-familiar). We long, though, to offer our stories to those who join us and to expand our community story to encompass the story of others as well. Our “Sacred Space,” where we gather, will tell that story… in every way that we can.