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.