For most of this year, we’ve been thinking about the monthly rhythms in our church community, and how we might be more intentional in forming those.
And letting them form us.
The idea of a monthly rhythm has been with us since the start, as we started with the intention of a forming a network of smaller communities that come together once or two Sundays per month. In the meantime, I’ve been exposed to the growing conversation about missional communities, most of which have some kind of monthly rhythm involved.
In the last few months, our community rhythm has gelled. I’m looking forward to see how it shapes our community, yet hopeful we can hold it loosely enough recognize that this rhythm might only be for this season, and reshaping in another.
Our rhythm is wrapped in stories, with an eye to how God has been involved in the larger story of history, and how we see God continuing to engage in our story as a community and as individuals. This rhythm of stories plays out in how we gather on Sundays, and it is shaping up to look like this:
- First Sunday – The first Sunday of every month is a Sunday of participation in story. God’s ongoing story is one of redemption and repair, so on the first Sunday of every month we give ourselves to living this out. We look for needs in our surrounding community that we might be able to engage with. Two months ago, that meant we visited a senior care center to spend time with residents there. This month, we provided materials and made blankets for the children who visit a local Child Advocacy Center.
- Second and Fourth Sunday – The second and fourth Sunday gatherings are formed around a retelling of God’s ongoing story. These Sundays, are gathering is focused on the text of Scriptures that form how we see ourselves and the world we are part of. As we see God’s work in the stories of Scripture, so we hope to be more aware of God’s stories in the present.
- Third Sunday – The third Sunday gathering of every month is a time of recognizing God’s presence. It is the Sunday where we feature Eucharist as a reminder of God’s presence. We also, as individuals, help each other work through two questions: 1) What is God saying to me? and 2) What am I doing about it? There aren’t better questions for followers of Jesus to be asking, and as we partner with God as a community, we also want to be a collective of individuals paying attention to what God is inviting them to.
We are only in our second month of this rhythm, and some of the language around it is still forming. Some of this rhythm has formed intentionally, and some we have come by along the way, but I’m excited to see how our community, and those who are part of it, are shaped by these rhythms.