“Journal Notes” submitted by home groups from Study Four: Who are We? Being the Church at the Margins
submitted July 25:
Worship: is transforming, which can be a good thing. Requires diligence and a sacrificial attitude without any specific rules or format. Worship is about God and not about us so much. Focus at B@tch is that worship involves our whole lives – every aspect. It helps us to gain a God-centred view of life. We try to sing ‘we’ and ‘our’ not so much ‘my’ and ‘I’.
Confession: We touched on inclusion at Sunday’s service – and some of us felt that the prayers enabled us to confess how we can set up barriers and exclude. Pride – we can take too much pride in things. Even a pride in how ‘different’ our church is. Someone referred to Richard Foster writing about churches that have an investment mentality and as he put it – ‘a greed for the kingdom’. We must be wary of this ourselves – putting too much into material things and aspects of church. Examples given of work in Chch which meets people’s needs & where they are at. Churches are giving practical help instead of worrying about buildings and re-building. We can become too busy, over-committed and too tired to reach out to others.
Eucharist: Healthy component. Renewing. Leveller – ALL who come are acceptable to God. We may comparmentalise people but God doesn’t.
Sending: seasons and times when God needs us to be the one to go OR the one who needs to remain quiet, prayerful and still. Natural opportunities as opposed to forced situations. Seeing what is in front of us as God putting that person or that situation in front of us, rather than us having to go and seek. Examples of this happening now were given.
Means don’t always justify the end. We must be sensitive to being where God wants us to be at the time. Is it a time for doing or is it a time for restoring? Shouldn’t beat ourselves up if we aren’t doing or haven’t achieved a ‘goal’. Is it, was it, God’s goal? Sometimes we press on when we should be evaluating and looking back to see what has been achieved. One of us remembers in the past, yearly conventions where a church was being told over and over the same things, as if nothing had been achieved or tried the year before. Maybe quiet achievements had been gained, and growth had occurred, but the time was never taken to take stock.
Romans 15 v 14: Power of signs and miracles. The gospel is something to promote. Tells us to look after people. We would hope that people in our church feel accepted no matter what. ‘Blind Healer’ book mentioned and ‘Grace Abounds’ – which speaks about letting God do His own work. Remember other peoples’ points of view are real to them – people at the margins can be very different to us so we can’t rely on our own understanding of the situation – try to look at it / understand it / from their p.o.v. Empathy.
submitted July 6:
Worship:- Direction (to God) & equality (with fellow worshipers) and focus on God.
Confession:- (of) sin, the things that separate us from God. Hold us back from his Will. Things that hinder compassion. Easier to help those that want to help themselves to break the cycle. But frequently under our own agenda.
Proclamation:- Via spoken word & by example, need to be in contact with people. Our lifestyle should confirm the gospel. Meetings, streets, highways and byways. Student Life seen as a group that affirms these thoughts. Understand people & try to meet needs.
Eucharist:- Re-centres us upon Christ. Christ broken for us, us broken for the community.
Sending:- Relationships important, serve those that God brings to your awareness/across your path. We are a “sent people”. We can be God’s hands & feet.
submitted June 6:
The group discussed how posessions and routines in the life of the congregation (such as buildings, church structures and committees, services) and our way of life could become idols which were focussed on to the detriment of God’s calling and mission.
All parts of our life should be available to God if called upon, though the difficulty of putting this into practice was acknowledged. Our practices could also alienate those who wished to know God or know Him better.
We reflected on the fact that Communion was a gift from God, and that none should be barred from it – all are equal at the table, regardless of their wealth or social status.