New Beginnings

I spoke on Sunday about new beginnings, but how sometimes we have to go through storms before those new beginnings, and looked at Jeremiah 29:10-12, Matthew 14:22-33 and John 16:33 (If you want to know how I used those scriptures you can watch my message in yesterday's post). The great thing about these examples of storms is that they all contained promises of God and in each of them God is with his people. So now we're having to get through a storm but when the storm is over we will be in an amazing time and place of new beginnings.  We truly serve an awesome God!

This got me to thinking about how church is being conducted on Sundays around the world...

Something I have kicked against for a long time is the seemingly diminishing role of the congregation in Sunday meetings. We have been part of churches where contributions are either managed by an elder with a microphone or worse, they are just actively discouraged.  There's a set list for the worship, the whole meeting is planned out and there's little to no space for the congregation to contribute.

I rail against this so much that at The Gathering we make a point of allowing space for contributions from members. It's one of our distinctives and it's something I will always work hard to preserve. So when we were faced with the challenge of taking our Gatherings online I decided that WhatsApp was the way to go. That way church remained in real time with real contributions from the members, and it has to be said it worked brilliantly!  In fact it's worked so well that I felt uncomfortable using a pre-recorded message this Sunday, but that's just my issue to get over.

However, the point of this post isn't to criticise other churches or big-up The Gathering, but to commend other churches for ditching some of their established formats and allowing their members to contribute again, predominantly through the comments section on Facebook. It's brilliant to see!

I really hope that for the church in general, part of the new beginnings post lockdown is continuing to allow congregational contributions to their gatherings, that would be amazing and such a huge blessing for everybody especially the church.

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