Well we didn't see that one coming but I for one went to bed a very happy man last night!

Who'd have thunk it... the government giving in to lobbying and reversing a decision.  Then again, it would have been a tad #awkward asking the various religious groups in the country to stand together for a day of prayer without allowing them to start to gather in their buildings again.

I don't know what your church experience has been under lockdown, I hope it's been a blessing to you. The Gathering has thrived under lockdown with amazing attendances at our WhatsApp Gatherings, both on Sunday mornings and our Wed evening prayer meetings. Church has become even more interactive than it already was and virtually all who attended contributed. WhatsApp church has been a huge blessing in a difficult time!

I started planning for Lockdown Level 3 WhatsApp church a few weeks ago and on Sunday, after the govt announced we were moving to Level 3 on the 1st of June, I asked The Gathering to spend a few days praying about the changes we should consider making to how we Gather under Level 3.

I had planned to message everyone again later in the week to outline some of my ideas about involving more people with a view to growing the church again.  But it seems God had a bigger and better plan and so we'll go with His.

One thing I know is that we must not just go back to how we did things before. God has given us an amazing opportunity now that we all understand that the church really is the people and not the building. For me I've always been uncomfortable with what I see as the performance side of church and have always enjoyed church as an open and interactive gathering in which all members are free to contribute through prayer, sharing a scripture, a prayer or a word, and these were clearly evident in the life of The Gathering before lockdown. Now as a church we need to build on that and ensure that we never lose that part of our DNA.

The other aspect of church life I want to see The Gathering build upon is our social outreach and caring for the most vulnerable in the community. As a church we've excelled at this and now is the time to ramp it up, not scale it back. Jesus' love and passion for the poor is evident throughout the New Testament (and the whole of the Bible!) and as the church we should be at the fore of reaching out and ministering to them.

I'm super excited for church reconvening in its buildings (obviously we will follow the health guidelines for safe meetings) and I'm even more excited about the opportunities we've been given to mould church into something truly spectacular.

Sunday 7 June is going to be one amazing Praise Party!

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