Our first Sunday gathering

Our daughter waiting for the congregation to arrive

It is now five days after our first Sunday gathering so I’ve had a chance to reflect a little on it.. Firsly I was very relieved to get the sunday meetings up and running. It took a lot of mental and emotional energy. Overall I was happy with the way it went and feedback has been mostly good, but there are definitely things to learn from this first one.

We opted for a 4pm meeting for the service (which was one of the most convenient times that came out of our market research), followed by a sandwich tea. The idea was that this would be a place where community could be grown and where people could investigate faith deeply – the content would be of substance, but presented in a way that may be appealing to those not used to church.

So we had an interactive gathering with time for discussion and questions, video clips and musical reflections. Prayer time gave everyone a chance to participate in a non-threatening way. We did not have any communal singing for worship, since this is one of the most counter-cultural aspects of church culture (even though I happen to like it). I also thought it might be a bit weird all sitting around in our front room.

We had 11 adults there. Five were from our core team (including us). Two came from another church to help use with the children’s work, generously giving their time.  Two were completely unchurched. The other two were Christians who, for whatever reason, had not been able to get to church regularly.

What was I happy about:

The people who came. I was very happy that the fringe Christians came and that a particular couple not only came, but were so enthusiastic about it. They really seemed to enjoy it. I was also encouraged about some friends of ours who didn’t manage to get there –  I had invited but not heard a reply. They texted halfway through to say that they were intending to come but had got stuck somewhere.

I was pleased at the level of interaction during the discussion, icebreaker and prayer time – honest heartfelt prayers. The time of eating together afterwards was particularly good – almost all stayed and I think it helped relationships to deepen. One unchurched husband who hadn’t been at the service joined us for the meal afterwards.

With 11 adults at 7 children we are going to see if another location can be found for our next meeting.

What might need a bit more thought.

We spoke about the message of grace based upon the story of the woman caught in adultery. Was the topic a bit to heavy for the unchurched people? Perhaps. Did  I talk for too long? Again, maybe. The length of the talky bit, which included discussion, video clips and a reflection was about 45 minutes.

Overall, it was a good start and there are things to learn for next time.

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4 Responses to Our first Sunday gathering

  1. Kim says:

    sometimes takes a bit of tinkering and review till it strikes you as spot on but brilliant to get the ball rolling and just do it. sounds great (45 mins v brave!!) and all very best to you with them as you continue.

  2. robryan65 says:

    Hi – i love to hear bout new beginnings …. and it’s exciting to see that something new has started i’m not sure of you were looking for comments or advice … but if you were I would just say ‘keep going’ but go slowly and involve the community of people that you have in what is happening.
    I am ‘interested’ in your comment ‘Prayer time gave everyone a chance to participate in a non-threatening way. …. i would like to gently challenge and ask if you are sure ….. i know lots of established Christians who find open prayer time a real threat and wonder how the couple with no church experienced found that time.
    but … you are there and know the community you are working with …. so please don’t see this as criticising … the good things about blog world is that we can share and challenge each other…. I find that useful as we are all learning as we seek to recreate church

    Go well …

    • tallandrew says:

      Hi Rob. Thanks for your comments. We were very conscious of the fact that open prayer time can feel threatening to Christians as well as non-Christians so we tried to do something a little different. Fortunately my wife used to be a youth worker so she has lots of interactive prayer ideas up her sleeve that feel less threatening! What we did was this: responding to the theme of grace, we were each invited to anonymously write something on a piece of paper that we were grateful for but felt we didn’t deserve, also writing how that made us feel. Those pieces of paper were then put in a bowl and each one of us pulled out a different piece. I then opened and closed the prayer time, in between we went round the circle reading out the prayer on the paper that we had in front of us. Thus everyone got to pray but didn’t feel self conscious reading out their own prayer. It seemed to work.

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