This Is Church, version 2.0
It’s hard to believe that we’re approaching the first anniversary of our little experiment in exploring ekklesia. How many of us thought a year ago that we’d be doing what we are today? Looking back, I’m amazed at God’s kindness, faithfulness, guidance and provision.
We’ve learned (and unlearned) a great deal in the past year. We’ve experienced trials and tribulations (and learned to rejoice in the midst of them). We’ve seen the Holy Spirit move amongst us and also had to contend with our flesh. We’ve made mistakes but also received revelation. We’ve been confronted with sin, but also with mercy, grace, compassion and forgiveness. We’ve struggled together to not be conformed to the image of the world and this present darkness. We’ve been learning forbearance, patience, simplicity and transparency as we wrestle with all of those “one-another” directives in the scriptures. Through it all, we’ve grown in Christ and have seen the fruit of discipleship within community.
For me personally, I’ve experienced an ever-increasing sense of freedom. Freedom from man’s expectations and from religious traditions that stifle bodylife. Freedom to be genuine in Christ and not play a role or put on a mask. Freedom to be flexible about what God is doing, yet firm in our faith of who He is. Now, as we move into a change of seasons, some changes in our modus operandi are at hand. I’m thinking of it as “This Is Church, version 2.0”. Here are some of the points of growth and change that are occurring:
· We are moving our “TIC” (This Is Church) gathering from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon/evening. Our starting time will be 3:30pm on Sunday. We’ll continue our tradition of eating a “pot-luck” communion meal together. The emphasis of “TIC” will continue to be the building up of one-another through sharing our Spiritual gifts. This will continue to be our primary gathering.
· “TAC” (This Ain’t Church), our time of Bible study/discussion is going to be put on hold temporarily while we adjust to the new schedule for “TIC”. We’ve been doing “TAC” on Sunday mornings, but will not be any longer. Once we’ve settled into the new Sunday afternoon “TIC”, we’ll look together at what day and time works best to resume “TAC”.
· Our studies and discussions in the Book of Acts during “TAC” have been excellent, but there is also a hunger to go beyond Bible study and get into the actual mechanics of how to study the bible. Depending on what the consensus is, we may begin “TAC” with a series on “How to study the Bible”. This would be based on Fee & Stuart’s book “How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth” and would include modules on Exegesis (what it is and how to do it), Hermeneutics(what it is and what the rules/guidelines are), tools (concordances, lexicons, Bible dictionaries, commentaries, etc.), translations (Literal vs. Dynamic Equivalence), etc. With the glut of bogus doctrine and sloppy theology being poured into the church these days, it is vitally important that each of us be discerning and know how to search out God’s truth in the scriptures.
· We’ve received an offer from a Christian business attorney to set us up as a 501c3 tax-exempt organization for no charge. The consensus at this point is leaning towards going ahead with this, so that tzedakah giving will be tax-deductible.
· I’ve registered the Internet domain name thisischurch.org. As time permits, I hope to set up a website (www.thisischurch.org) which will include a calendar of events, teachings, links to articles, a discussion forum, blogs, etc. I suppose this means that the “official” name of our church will be “This Is Church”, but we’ll probably still affectionately refer to ourselves as “TIC/TAC”.
I’m sure the Lord has other changes in store for us that we’re not yet aware of! The key is that we keep our eyes focused on Him and our hearts open to one-another.