I am blessed. I get front row seats to watch God at work in an increasing number of churches as we seek to join with what God is doing in our neighbourhoods.
Years ago, I remember Stuart Murray Williams suggesting that we need multi-voice churches in this post-christendom era. That was a good word. Just this last week I heard a wonderful story of a church putting that into practice. This church was asking the question of whether preaching was the “end” or a means to an end – “making disciples.” They decided the latter. And so they have begun to meet on Sunday mornings around tables. The text is opened and some brief comments are made, before a question is raised. Then the people go to work around the table in the text. What is God like? What is He doing? What is He saying to them?
When they have worked together around the tables, they come back together and share what God has been saying. The “preacher” (the one who has done the work in the text) makes sure that they are not twisting the meaning of the text as they listened to what God was saying. Then they go back into different table groups and discuss what it is that God wants them to do with what He has said. How might they live as followers of Jesus in this day and age so that they faithfully bear witness to who He is? What practice do they need to engage in?
Finally, there is a sharing of what they have heard God ask them to do and a commitment together to engage in God’s mission through the power of the Spirit. Prayer follows as they commit themselves to the Lord. I am quite sure there are bugs in the system still, but what a joy to hear of this experiment as they are seeking to join with God on mission.