Two days ago, we had our first preview service. So much to be excited about and grateful to God for. Here are some thoughts from this past weekend.
» We have a great team. Seriously. People showed up early, helped set up, prayed, welcomed visitors, served throughout the service, and were just excited. When the service was over, people hung around for a while, ate pizza, laughed a lot, and connected with one another. We have been talking for a while about being a hospitable community. A community that welcomes people. This weekend was a good step in that direction.
» The space looked great. Our team took a pale-blue storage room and a pale-green classroom and turned it into a vibrant nursery and gathering space. Our wives put the finishing touches with candles, tablecloths, flowers, perfectly arranged spreads, and fifteen other details our men would have missed.
» People sang. Maybe its cause we’re in a small room and sound fills it easily; but our time of singing was sweet. The redeemed people of God worshipping God through song in response to His Gospel – sweet. Loved the way that Siby led the music well but allowed it to be a corporate experience rather than a solo performance.
» Preaching is easier than Bible study. Ok, maybe not always and not in all ways. But for me personally, though the week of preparing a sermon is brutal, delivering it is pure joy. I got to preach on Luke 12 where Jesus talks about not worrying. In the midst of a recession and the difficult economic climate in Philly, it was well received.
» Communion was powerful.
» Silence is useful and often forgotten. We’re so uncomfortable with silence that we tend to fill it with noise. We had a few moments throughout the service where people could reflect and be still before God…and that was good.
» We were all basically Christians. I don’t know for sure, but I think everyone in the room was a professing Christian. So we still have ways to go in connecting with people who don’t know Jesus. It can be so tempting to jump into weekly services because of how sweet this weekend was. But church planting is not about gathering Christians. And having weekly services is not our end goal. I have to remember that. Our team needs to remember that.
And so, we celebrate this weekend cause it was good. But we press on to see how God wants us to love and serve and engage our city in this forming stage.