Posts Tagged ‘community’
i miss church. i miss belonging to a church family. i thought i just missed the enGAGE peeps – which i totally do – or that i just missed being involved in a church, but a few weeks ago i hung out with some peeps from JoshGen, which is the church my friend MJ is at, and then 2 days later the young adults from His People, which is the church my mom is at and which i frequently visit when i’m in CT for the weekend, had a dinner and i went with. the two groups were very different…it was quite a different get-together though as one group happened to be friends who happen to go to the same church had a pizza and dvd night, and the other was young people from the same church who wanted to get together and get to know each other vibe.
but yea, being at both those events made me realise how much i missed that. i miss the individuals from enGAGE, but i also just miss being a part of a community.
and the being involved part is a big part of it i think. because i’m only in cape town on the weekends i can’t really be involved in anything at HP cos it mostly all happens during the week. and since moving out of the centre of town i feel like i can’t get involved in any church in stellies cos that would require walking by myself at night vibes – and i’ve sworn that off. so i feel like i can’t be part of a church unless i’m invested in the church, but that takes more than just showing up on sunday mornings so right now i’m feeling very much churchless.
and i think some people are cool with that. and they get along with just sunday morning vibes and are happy living that way, but it’s totally not my vibe. i want to be involved and participate and feel like i have a say in the church and that i’m building into the church and that i belong and am part of it.
anyway, guess i just wanted to share that little bit of mind-junk.
they say to watch the company you keep because you tend to become them or something. i always try to surround myself with good people, and i think i’ve done very well so far. god has brought some super awesome people into my life.
sometime this year i was going through some hectic spiritual stuff – lots of doubt, which i’d never really experienced before – so it was really scary, but the people from church helped me through it.
a few years ago i read donald miller’s blue like jazz and shane claiborne’s irresistible revolution and fell in love with the idea of living in community. i decided then that i didn’t want to live alone anymore – at that point i was living in a batchelor flat all by my lonesome. anyway, the following year i moved in with my friend lindri and that was really good. i think i needed that transition of moving in with just one person first to get me out of my “bubble” space mentality…and it was a really huge bubble. anyway, by the end of the year i was so used to lindri coming to my door all the time to talk that i’d so miss it when she wasn’t around. i got to a point where i didn’t just put up with being around people but i actually wanted and craved to be around other people.
the next year i moved in with 2 strangers. even more growth. atleast with lindri we’d been friends before we moved in together so i kinda knew what to expect but with these new flatmates i knew nothing. i only met them once i’d already moved in. and although there were some disagreements here and there – mostly about housekeeping: washing the dishes, cleaning the bathroom, etc etc – it was a really cool group of people so it all worked out in the end.
i just moved into a new house last week that i will be sharing with 4 other people – eek. 4 stragers. i lucked out though because they all seem like genuinely great people and we get along quite well. i actually went away with one of them this past weekend – after only knowing her for a week – to a music festival…she’s also a fan of music and dancing – yayness!
i think my biggest problem this year is going to be being farther away from my church people, especially since my flatmates aren’t Christians. i think i took that for granted while i had it. lind would always come to my room when she got something new from the bible and share it with me and we’d have hectic chats on the Bible and God and pray for each other and stuff. and last year, while that didn’t happen, knowing that my flatmates where Christians and being close to my friends whom i could always call on for coffee and a chat when i was feeling down or whatever was really encouraging.
i think church attendance and cell group are going to play an even bigger role in my life next year. i’m gonna be more dependent on that christian fellowship. and i’m gonna try to remember not to take it for granted but to really appreciiate it.
this post was written for the one word at a time blog carnival. this week’s theme is “fellowship”. Click here to read other posts from some awesome bloggers.
thinking about summer reminded me of my family’s big move in 1995. as you know, summer in the northern hamisphere is winter in the southern hemisphere. in august of 1995, while it was still winter in south africa, we got on a plane and headed to the US. we boarded the plane wearing jeans and turtle necks and huge winter jackets and doc martens on our feet. we had a couple hours lay over in hong kong where we had planned to find a place to take a shower and get refreshed, so we carried an extra set of clothing to change into then, but that didn’t happen.
none of us (me, my younger sister, or my mom) had never come across chinese food before…ever! so on the plane we were served strange food with strange taste and strange smells. and our stomachs couldn’t handle it – especially my mom, who was 8 months pregnant at the time. so we flew from south africa to hong kong with no food and upset stomachs. as soon as we got to the hong kong airport we went on a mission to find a restaurant we recognised, that served food we knew. we finally ran into a mcdonalds and we gobbled that down. but the time it took to search for the restaurant and eat and stock up for the next plane ride took up our lay over so we didn’t have time to go refresh…
we got back on the plane – our next stop: los angeles. it was hot. not unbearably so, but hot. my dad was at the airport already waiting for us, and we hadn’t seen him in a while so the heat and all of that took a back seat. anyway after the “hellos” and “how has your trip been so far” and “wow hong kong is weird”, we got back on the plane and headed for nevada.
we stepped out into the reno airport – in america – to a group of complete strangers we didn’t know, holding up a welcome sign in my home language – tswana. so super surreal. apparently they had asked my dad how you say “welcome to america” in tswana, but he didn’t know what they were planning. so our little welcome party at the airport was a complete surprise – and a beautiful one at that.
anyway, we soon found out that our luggage hadn’t made it to the US with us…and as we walked out of the airport we were greeted by a heat wave – 105*F, hottest day of the summer so far – coming from the cold south african winter, dressed in our cold-winter clothes.
and that was our welcome to the Nevadan summer…unforgettable.
This post is part of the One Word at a time blog carnival. Check out more posts on the theme of “Summer” here.
This post is part of a weekly worship blog carnival, so do stop by the worship community for more setlists and sermon recaps from around the world…
I went to cape town this weekend to go visit my mom so was not at the morning service. I did however visit the Hillsong church in cape town and it was awesome. I had a bit of a mishap with the trains trying to make it back to Cape Town for practice and almost missed church but I did make it in time, thank God.
O come let us adore Him (John Wade/John Reading)
How great is our God – Brad Klynsmith
Wholly yours – David Crowder* Band
You said – Reuben Morgan
Jesus, we enthrone you – Paul Kyle
When I survey – Chris Tomlin version
Kevin was leading today, and it went a lot better than last week team wise. We had a smaller team though, 1 bass, 1 drummer, 1 guitarist, 2 vocals.
For the next six weeks we will be going through the six pillars – or main values – enGAGE stands on. Today was the second one – “Growing in Community”.
The main text was on Genesis 27: 1 – 40 as a picture of how community does not work, and Acts 2: 42 – 47 and 4: 32 – 35 as a picture of how community does work. We then broke up into different groups and discussed community with a focus on different verses.
My group looked at Romans 12:16, 1 Corinthians 1: 10, 1 Thessalonians 5: 13, and 1 Peter 3: 8 and then discussed how we as a church could better live out community. And then we ended the services by praying for each other – lots of stuff about family came up in the prayer session…
Afterwards, as usual, we went to Gino’s for dinner and each of the girls got a rose for St. Valentine’s day…awww…sweet -thanks Dom!
This post is part a weekly worship blog carnival, my first for 2010, so do stop by the worship community for more setlists and sermon recaps from around the world…
Morning service I went to youth and, it being the first service of the year, we just introduced new people and tried to get the admin – times for cell, contact numbers, etc – done. so no lesson or anything this week…just chatting and sharing about our holidays mostly.
We cry out (Brian Johnson)
All of my days (Hillsong)
Be lifted up (Paul Oakley)
My life is in You (Daniel Gardner)
Give thanks (Henry Smith)
How deep the Father’s love (Stuart Townend)
Ronel led worship today. Was pretty good I think…I really enjoyed singing today. The preach was on hidden sin and how it affects those in community with you looking at Aiken from the book of Joshua . His sin caused the whole of the Israelites shame, and it caused death, and caused the disgrace of God in the eyes of the other nations. Brett went on to challenge us to start off the year with clean slates by repenting of our secret sins and renewing our minds, lest those sins have negative effects on the enGAGE community.
Must say, I’m excited about enGAGE in 2010.
I am in participating in the one word at a time blog carnival, which is being hosted by Bridget Chumbley this week. Today’s word is Church, and as I’ve written quite a few blogs on that topic, I’ve decided to just to a repost. One of the topics we wrote on about a month back was community, and that was also a repost…it was original the post that followed this one in “my thoughts on the church and the Church” series…
the role of the church, the way i see it…and once again, by church i mean the congragational gathering…is for community. we were made for relationships…God is relational, we were created in God’s image, therefore we are relational beings…we were not created to go through life as loners, and we are not meant to walk this Christian walk alone. Side note a bit: I’m not saying you can’t be friends and have relationships with people who aren’t Christian, but I think there’s something powerful and build-up-ness about having friends/accoutability partners who have the same basic beliefs/morals/world-view as you do.
Ok, back to our regularly scheduled blogpost: Joshua Davidson chose Peter to be the rock that His church would be built upon, but he didn’t send Peter out alone, he had 11 other guys doing it with him (yea, I remember what happened to Judas, they replaced him with Matthius remember?)…and they garnered more and more people to walk with them along the way…even Paul when he went on his many mission trips wasn’t travelling alone…he often went with Barnabas and then there was John Mark and there were times during the travels when Dr Luke would pop in for a spell…and even when he was travelling alone he would always stay with other Christians in the area.
So, as I see it the church (congregation) isn’t there to play babysitter and make sure you do your homework and eat your vegetables…we do the gathering thing for the community – to love one other, share with each other, encourage one another, rejoice with those who rejoice, and cry with those who cry.
As I said in part 1, I don’t think it’s the church’s job to come up with “witnessing/outreach” things for us to do, I think it’s up to me, when I see a need to fulfil that need and then when we meet on Sunday I share with my family what happened the past week, we either celebrate together or mourn together. We share in each other’s lives, pains, etc. We praise God together, we seek Him together and on behalf of each other, we encourage each other to live a life worthy of the calling we’ve recieved, we have the enGAGE pizza together at Gino’s, then we go out into the world and live out that calling by being a witness to those who haven’t seen the light yet. That is your ministry/calling/witnessing…being a light to those who haven’t seen it yet…and it is not necessarily going to happen in mission trips and in street evangelisms and organised outreach things, it might just happen through you living out your everyday life in a way that in “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, [you] do it all in the name of our Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the father through him”.
which leads me to thoughts on the church in Acts…that will be part 3
Do stop by the blog carnival and read the other posts…
blogs of the week
The Wild Animal (What I learned today – Billy Coffey – @billycoffey) this one was actually from last week, just forgot to include it then
What’s your favorite post (Stuff Christians Like – Jon Acuff – @prodigaljohn)
God sings (Worship The Rock Blog – Phil Williams – @WorshipTheRock)
All these words (very Much Later – Jake Lee – @muchlater)
3 more games you must play (tylerstanton.com – Tyler Stanton – @tylerstanton)
I won (Moral Fibre – Crayg – @moralfibresa)
Brew some good (Becoming Last – Matt Windley – @becominglast)
Worship musicians and sales (Worship The Rock Blog – Phil Williams – @WorshipTheRock)
Community blog carnival (One word at a time – Bridget Chumbley – @bridgetchumbley)
site of the week
I’m taking part in a blog carnival over at “One Word at a Time“…and today’s topic is community. I’ve written about community before, so I decided to just do a repost of that post…enjoy…
[my thoughts are a bit scattered at the moment, so this one will be very reflective of my scatter-brain-ness...i mean more than my other posts have been]
So the early church…Brett’s favorite verse ever is Acts 2:42ff and as he said this past Sunday, all the enGAGE people have probably got it memorised by now cos he reads it so often in our services.
The early church was great at doing the whole community thing. They pretty much lived together and shared everything and everybody got along and sang kum-ba-ya together all night…ok, maybe i just made that last part up. All this to say, the church grew in thousands…people were joining the Church on a daily basis because of what they saw.
I think though today, there are more people talking about community but we’ve misunderstood it. Community is a big christian buzz word – the next new thing – at the moment (that and fighting injustice…think i already wrote on this one), everybody is wanting to live in community and they are throwing the word around like it’s going out of fashion (irony: it probably will be as soon as the next hypeworthy thing comes along)…but the concept of community isn’t new and buzzworthy…communities have been around as long as people have been around.
Community isn’t about a bunch of people living in a house together…that’s MTV’s “The Real World”, community is about people sharing their lives together. Community isn’t about excluding those outside your “culture” (including race, social class, education, etc), it’s about including them into your circle. Community is not about meeting once a week in a church building, it’s about BEING Church together…everyday.
[Point of clarification, I don't have a problem with getting a house with a bunch of people and living together a la SimpleWay style...in fact I would really dig to do that...what I am saying is that community is so much more than that]
The early church didn’t just meet once a week and discuss the bible, sing a few songs and then go back to their normal lives. They lived together, they lived on the word, they followed the Way, the gave their lives for the Way, they lived a life that made those on the outside go “hey, there is something different there, and I want me a piece of that”. They gave up their “normal lives” and chose to live Christ-centered, Holy Spirit-filled lives to the glory of the Father…and He blessed them, and multiplied them. We sit in our wonderfully comfortable pews and wonder why the world is not turning to the Father, it’s because they don’t see it in those who claim to be following Him. The name “christians” was first used in Acts and was used to describe the followers of the way because they were “little christs”…his mini-me’s…imitators of christ…reflections of Him…that’s what the word means. And that’s why the early church was blessed…that’s why their community grew…because they were following the Way…they were living for the way…it wasn’t about them believing a bunch of stuff, it was about them living out what they said they believed.
That’s what we as the church are missing today: the DAILY taking up our cross and following him part. We need to be Christ-followers. The world needs to see Christ in us. The world needs to see the God who is love through us. The world needs to see the broken being restored…the needy having their needs met…the lonely being loved…the untouchables feeling the comfort of human touch…and as we do that, as we display His love and His character to the world, they will inevitably be drawn to Him.
I’ve mentioned before that I think the church I am currently a part of (VCF/enGAGE) is really good at doing the whole community thing…so in part 4 I’m gonna expand a bit on that.
This is one of those “do I push the publish button or not” posts…too real…too fresh…probably too much to put online…but realness beckons!
I used to go to a church that taught that Christians should never drink…and I believed it too. I didn’t drink, I was a good little girl…and I pretty much judged anyone who claimed to be a Christian and drank…And anyway, I really didn’t get it…”why drink at all…I have fun just like you except I can remember it in the morning…what? you only had one drink, well i’m guessing you probably still blacked out anyway…i mean really how many drinks does it take?”
The problem began when I became dissatisfied with church answers and decided to look to Jesus answers…I went through the bible to try and find that illusive verse that says those who choose to follow Christ should never drink. And I found one…you know the one where Samson is set apart as a Nazarite and never drinks…that proves that God’s people shouldn’t drink right? Ok, never mind that Jesus turned water into wine, and that Paul tells Timothy to drink a little wine – it was only cos the drinking water in that day was so bad for them that they HAD to drink wine…never mind that Jesus offered the disciples wine at the last supper or that the bible says “do not GET DRUNK on wine” not “do not DRINK wine” – same thing really…
Anyway, so here I sit with this conundrum (i really like that word) and feeling like the biggest pharisee in the world for being so judgemental. And then one day I decided to taste this heathen drink…huh, what do you know, actually tastes good. Then one day I decided to buy myself a whole bottle of cider…then another day it was 2…then another…then i got into wine…then i moved to the biggest wine producing region in south africa…spiral!
I’ve been doing a lot of inward looking lately…trying to work out issues in my life, searching for the root cause and trying to hand ALL the crap to God so he can sort it out. And one thing I realised was that alcohol gives me this sense of false freedom. When you are drunk you can say and do whatever you want…and the next day you can always just blame it on the alcohol…That lie worked for a while, until I realised that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”, and the same can be said for actions as well. It wasn’t the alcohol making me do those things, it was my brokenness that wanted to do those things…the alcohol just lay down all my inhibitions and brought out the sinfulness that’s already in my heart.
And it really does feel freeing being drunk…really does…but then in the morning you wake up and you are filled with regrets, and that is not freedom! Freedom sets you free…freedom feels free…it feels good…it does not feel like a hangover…or a “oh crap I said/did that last night”…
I recently discovered that freedom is not being able to do or say whatever you want when you want – that more often than not leads to you getting hurt or hurting someone else… Freedom is found in living by the principles that lead to an abundant life. Freedom releases you to love, be loved, be in community, all that good stuff…freedom is not found in hiding, in hurt, in regret. One of my favorite passages in William Young’s “The Shack” is when Papa says to Mack that the Truth shall set you free, and the Truth has a name…Freedom is found in walking with the Truth (i’m paraphrasing).
So I’m learning to walk in the Truth…with The Truth…I’m trying to depend fully on him…trying to lean on him…and find my freedom in him.
Freedom in Love!
who/what is enGAGE
a bunch of people who believe in and are aiming to be:
 Fully devoted Followers of Christ
 Growing in Community
 Giving Generously
 Witnessing Unashamedly
 Worshipping Passionately
 Serving Purposefully
The name enGAGE reminds us that church is not that meeting that takes place on a Sunday but it is a body of believers and the four focus points of enGAGE are to:
Engage with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Engage with the Bible – reading, knowing and doing
Engage with each other – the community of believers, building and living in authentic relationship with each other
Engage with society – people outside of the church, showing them God’s love and grace and pointing them to Him.
(from the enGAGE website)
why the capital GAGE in enGAGE?
American spelling of gauge…as in to measure…so the name reminds us that “we are constantly needing to Gauge/measure where we are in life compared to where we should be and continually trying to narrow that gap”…we should constantly be measuring ourselves against Joshua Davidson, cos as his followers we are supposed to be trying to be more and more like him daily. “This is a journey we are on, together in community”.
(quotations from website).
what sets us apart?
the “broken, but beautiful bride”
Brett loves the saying “Jesus is coming back for his bride, not a harem”. There is no such thing as Churches, it’s all one Church. Anyway, he’s really passionate about bringing together the bride…and he’s somehow managed to rub off that passion on to our congregation. We are all about bringing together the whole church, not just our denomination. We love doing the stuff with other congregations in Stell/Cape Town/Somer Set West…like worship events and camps and stuff like that where we bring together the whole church and just celebrate and rejoice and be the bride together.
We have come across opposition of course, as Jon Acuff said, “only ordinary things ever get full consensus from people. Doing something extraordinary should never make complete sense to everyone in your life”, but we are slowly building bridges, maybe not as the congregation per se, but as individuals from our congregation who see the need to fellowship with other followers outside our little circle…the church is being A Church!
one of the dudes from our church once said that the thing that sets us apart is that we are the “earthy church”…meaning we are down-to-earth. Vineyard (the international denomination one) has a thing against titles…i mean we have pastors and leadership people but we don’t have titles for them like deacons and bishops etc…we are all members of the church and each member is called to take part and minister and lead and stuff.
for instance we encourage people to share verses or messages or whatever that they feel God is laying on their hearts during worship or whatever and as Brett often says, we are all part of the priesthood so therefore we should all be praying for each other, laying hands on each other, baptising each other, ministering to each other, etc.
In fact, during the preaches there’s often inside jokes and back-chatting and adding on and questionning and aswering each other…interesting services I tell you.
we are also very much about being real…like really real…like confess your sins to each other real…from the pulpit if you feel it’s necessary (and by pulpit I mean the stool that Brett sits on during the preach…hee hee). We hang out together a lot…like outside of church…so it goes without saying that we will turn to each other for accountability and prayer and holding-each-other-up-ness, so it’s very important that we are real with each other and talk to each other and share real stuff.
we believe Christ calls you as you are…not a fake, seemingly perfect version of you…but the raw, broken, failed you. Come to the cross broken – no dressing up, no band-aids – he can’t heal you if you pretend you don’t need healing.
why i love my church
we believe in prayer
there’s been a couple of times where i’ve been in the car with friends and someone tells us of a need or prayer request or whatever and we just pull the car off to the side and pray for them and minister to them right there and then.
one of my youth peoples got stabbed this past week and he came through to church on sunday evening so at the end of the service a bunch of us gathered around him to pray for healing
we believe in living out the stuff
a friend was telling us of financial troubles and another friend said “well we’ll keep you in prayer, but in the meantime is there anything we can help with practically right now?”
we read a book in our cell about getting out of the pews and actually doing stuff which led to things like starting up “kinetic love” – an outreach group which also started up the 24-7 prayer room – and selling of hotdogs to the homeless…
we are a super funny bunch of crazies
some of my favorite enGAGE quotes:
“i don’t want to be controlled by my scarves”
“shut up christian and go read your bible”
“every time i have a conversation with a girl i think she’s either going to laugh or fall in love with me”
one last thing for those who live in Stellies
wednesday nights 9:30 pm we meet in the prayer room (Neelsie, room T-29 i think, 4th floor in between the loos and TBT and across from the habitat for humanity Shack) and we have a time of prayer then we go out onto the streets and talk to/pray for/minister to people we meet. Great time of kingdom-come type stuff…please join us if you can/want to.
speaking of prayer room…for those who haven’t been there…it’s a room dedicated to 24-7 prayer…it’s open all the time and you can just pop in there and say a prayer if you wanted to.