On Gatheringlessness…

This week begins an eight week scattered focused for our church.  As we mentioned in AND…the Gathered and Scattered Church, there are two redemptive sides of any church.  One is called the “sodalic” and represents the arm of the church that extends Christianity forward.  As a sodalic leader, the Apostle Paul modeled apostolic/evangelistic experiences and created church out of nothing. New converts were made, discipleship began, and Paul new that in order for him to keep the church emerging, he would have to set some “modalic” experiences that would hold the church together after he was gone.  Thus, he encouraged the appointment of elders, and in turn began strengthening the arm of the church that would remain behind to care for, shepherd, and teach the community how to live after Christ.

Whereas any church would love to see the a balance of both the extension and retention of the church; the evangelistic and shepherding, the scattered and the gathered, The GO & Make Disciples, the reality is that most churches have been stuck in purely modalic life.  Church services, buildings, sermons, classes, small groups, bible studies, worship, etc. tend to reflect what most people experience as church.  It’s all about the gathering.  And although much good comes from this, we miss the powerful stories of the conversion of culture.

Adullam, as a church plant started with a purely “scattered” ethos of deploying incarnational communities throughout Denver and we had to learn how to “gather” as a congregational network.  Thus, we’ve moved around with great agility and although our folks love our church gatherings, they have developed the sodalic muscles and actually enjoy seasons of non-gathering, such as we’re now experiencing. Due to having to leave our building, and waiting for our next gathered spot to be ready in July, we have created a specific rhythm for the next 8 weeks that will help people connect, engage the culture, form new communities, and serve the least.

This week for Mother’s Day weekend we’re having a Saturday night “ladies night out” at a local comedy club so our women can get to know each other more as well as inviting non-adullamite women to join in. Next week will have all our communities focus on being in homes together; the next week we’ll all meet for a day at the park, and the following week will be together serving the poorest neighborhood in Denver.  The next month will follow this basic flow.

It’s not rocket science and for sure we will miss the beautiful times of communion together, but instead of lamenting the loss of some gathered structures, we’ve push to heighten the benefits that our gatheringless situation allows us.  At the end of these two months, I know we will have more people in communities, more people will be helped practically, more spontaneous life will occur, more leadership will be spread out, and more unchurched will be included in our lives.  All benefits of the sodalic scattered essence of any church.

Whether you’re forced to as we are or intentionally plan this, any church can develop the balance.