Following on the conversations within our simple church expression, we ended up with two gatherings booked for this weekend… one last night and another this morning. After this it’ll settle into a routine that includes a maximum of one gathering per weekend, or most weekends. Today was the first gathering for kids in our new experimental format… breakfast all together plus a meeting that’s more formally-focused on the kids. They seemed to give it good marks.
Last night deserves high marks as well. For something different, we invited Jamie Arpin-Ricci to join us and share the YWAM Winnipeg vision and other ideas as a basis for further conversation (we use a discussion-based format in our gatherings). The main point of discussion this time out was to be missional concepts and the idea of the “third space” and the The Dusty Cover project that YWAM Winnipeg is undertaking. Jamie brought along one of the students in their DTS and we all had a very good discussion that gave us a better understanding of what Jamie is up to and why. We also got onto a great side-discussion about justice as well, and I finally had to cut the discussion short (not uncommon once we get going) so that we could have communion together and wrap up the meeting before visiting further and calling it a night.
After sharing the stage with Jamie on three separate emerging church panel discussions, it was good to get him in front of the group I’m primarily engaged with. Update: Jamie has also posted some of his thoughts on the evening. We’re talking pub night again soon as well, so stay tuned.
That reminds me, this past Friday I was finishing up at the chiropractor, and one of the ladies at the front counter wanted to ask me a question… “Are you a pastor?”
Now, I don’t exactly get asked that question every day, and given the fundamental changes in my way of thinking about the whole thing over the past couple of years, the answer was just slightly less straightforward than I thought it would have been. “Not per se,” I said.
Turns out she had finally placed how she knew me — she used to be a pastor and had heard me speak at the Providence Emerging Church Conference about a year and a half ago. She was thinking the stuff we were saying was right on, and couldn’t figure out why nobody else was “getting” it. I didn’t have the heart to ask why she wasn’t pastoring any longer. Maybe next time….
What time is the breakfast gathering? Is it hard 2 get people to it. Great ideas about the kids. I am trying to think of some fresh ways to do Simple Church from the way we have been previously doing it. Would be interested in hearing how it goes.
It hasn’t been going on long in this format, but we don’t meet until 10:30. Maybe we should call it “brunch.” It does make it easier to get to, and I think it’s a better fit with the rhythm of life on a Sunday morning. For most people, just standing erect at 8:00AM on Sunday is just way outside the natural course of what should happen at that hour. One of the things I personally want is for my/our rhythm of life to be more in sync with the culture around me, so that it’s easier to relate and to intersect. (Understand I’m talking about something that’s amoral here!)
The first one went well, and after the organized part, the kids ran off to play and the parents drank coffee and visited until 12:30 or 1:00. It was good for all, I’d say… we’ll see what the long haul looks like, but I think this fits well, in no small part because it gets the kids at their best hour, not tired or whatever.
What do you do that’s “more formally focused on the kids”?
I’m curious because we’ve left our church (long ugly story) and are, or will be, starting a simple church with friends in the not-too-distant future. I’m also going to be working through “The Search for Significance” with my 13 yo daughter; she using the teen version and me using the adult version.
At the moment, the friends who would be starting this with us all homeschool, so our peer group is fairly unique. But I can see others joining us in the not too distant future who don’t … so I don’t want to base any of our structures (no matter how flexible) around the homeschooling paradigm.
Sooo … anyway … would love to hear more of your formalized thoughts on what you’re doing in this regard … even if it just dreaming at the moment. Thanks.
The lesson/discussion is at their level, and there isn’t one for the adults. That is, unless thier conversation picks up a theme and goes with it after the kids are done. The way we’ve set it up right now, there’s an adults’ meeting and a kids’ meeting, and neither one tries to cater to the other. Hey, we’re still experimenting! ;^) The kids are encouraged to bring their own offerings, observations, or other contributions to share, just like the adults do.