|Posted on 14 November, 2016 at 13:45|
In May of 2016 Church on the Hill gathered to pray about how church was going to look in the future. While we loved the journey God had been taking us on up to this point, it was clear a new energy was needed. This is, for better or worse, very normal in the life of a church or any relationship. You cannot move on with only the initial energy, there needs to be a consolidated effort to work on the "marriage" once the "honeymoon" is over. So whilst this was a little scary, it was also exciting.
For the next two months we chatted and prayed about options, and in July decided to make an experimental shift ot a new rhythm. Rather than meeting each week for a church "feast", we would have a two weekly rhythm called Fishing and Feasting. In very broadest terms, feasting was gathering as a church, fishing was being the church without a formal gathering.
This in theory is so solid Biblically. We were always called to be a people who were giving and blessing the community around us. This was to be done separately and together. The church was never called to be an event, but more like a movement or gathering of people who want to change the world by the power of the Holy Spirit. In our rhythm shift, we were allowing this idea into our very structure, giving it structural importance.
Now it is worth adding, this is not THE Biblical model for church. A life of mission and worship is the actual Biblical model for church, but we are not in any way making a declaration about how right we have gotten church (and subtly taking a dig at any other church who doesn't do it our way). No the number of meetings is not the yardstick for Biblical fellowship and church. And there are plenty of churches who in their format look very traditional, but are living an exceptionally missional life as a church (have a look at the work of https://www.htb.org/" target="_blank">Holy Trinity Brompton, Mosaic or New Life Anglican Church, just to choose a few of my favourites). Like all things, it is what is going on behind the scenes which is the real deal. About changed lives changing lives.
We have another church in our movement of Baptist Churches who is doing church this way, so there is some local precedent. But as far as I know, there is no one in our region who is practicing church in the way we do. So we feel brave, sometimes nervous, but also excited. Our friend Des who up until recently has been pastoring a two weekly rhytm church in Kellyville, Sydney, encouraged us by saying that when you really want people to get an idea, it has to have a practical "roadblock" aspect to it. That is, people have to see it and engage with it practically until they really wrestle with it. So we are trying this rhythm, believing God is in it, and also knowing that our calling is not weekly or fortnightly in any case, but daily. So if we decide to change direction at the end of this 6 month testing period, praise God. If not, praise God. We will still be seeking to follow God and learn how to do this together and in our town.