Sometimes I learn better by experience and illlustration. Here is a fictional account of a week in the life of a Way Community:
Sunday morning 5-6 families prepare for the 10am meeting at the Host home (The Leader may be the host but might not be if another group members home was better suited for the type of gathering). They have decided to begin this weeks meeting with a bring-a-dish breakfast. One family has made arrangements to pick up a first time guest who happens to live in the neighborhood so they leave a bit early. At 10am families start pouring in with food in hand. It has been a long and busy week for everyone so many are tired and weary. At the same time, they are glad to get together with this little group to grow together so there is an excitement and thankfulness for the opportunity to meet.
As folks gather to eat the meal, prayer requests are shared and noted and several requests from prior times are checked on and updated. Someone offers a prayer and the meal is devoured around much conversation. It seems to feel more like a family holiday gathering than a traditional church meeting. As the meal winds down, some help clean up while others get the chairs set up and the tv/tech ready to go. Soon, everyone is gathered.
Someone has brought a song they would like to sing. They sing it through once and even show where several of the lyrics come right out of scripture. The group tries to sing it together with a few giggles. One man promises to bring his guitar next week.
The leader starts the teaching video of the week (the pastor provides these to the leader in advance of each week as well as a list of important things to discuss/cover in Community). First, he explains about the new serving opportunity and expresses how that opportunity will be a great way for folks to make an impact on the city. The group pauses the video and discusses how they might get involved in this new opportunity.
Then he brings a message from The Bible. It is good teaching but it doesn't stop there. The TV is shut off and the leader then facilitates discussion on the topic of the study. Questions are asked. Points are brought out. Good teaching leads to good learning which leads to good living. The purpose of the Word is Life Transformation! During this time, one of the families has brought the younger children to the basement to help apply the message to them in an age-appropriate way including a little craft.
At this time, one of the men turns the discussion to the time of testimony and briefly shares about his own faith and decision to follow Jesus. It is inspiring. Just last week the Pastor had included a testimony of one of the members from another Way Community. Several of the people here today don’t yet follow Jesus so it is a powerful time.
The group now encourages one another in how they can continue to love their neighbors and reach others. They list some practical needs where they need help and several ask for the group to keep them accountable in particular areas where they are struggling. Lists are made and several folks make plans to get together one-on-one later in the week.
Before the day is done they discuss the upcoming celebration service held in the Casper Events Center 2nd floor. It will be great to see all 5 of the Way Communities getting together. They hear that there will be 6 baptisms afterwards!
As folks leave the home, they close in prayer. Many of them place an offering in the little folder on the kitchen table that is sent along to the sponsor church (Boyd Ave. Baptist) who graciously handles the finances during the early stages of the new church.
Later that night, each Way Community Leader and/or Host meet at the pastor’s home to discuss upcoming meetings, pray together and celebrate where they see God at work. Assignments are passed out for the upcoming Celebration service where each leader will have a role to make the day go smooth. Two new groups are about to start and those families are commissioned and prayed for and each of them explain where/when they will be meeting. One is hoping to reach, love and serve their neighbors where they live in a new subdivision on the East-side. The other is hoping to reach, love and serve the students and faculty at Casper College as they live nearby.
During the week, several blogs are posted by the pastor that are perfect for devotions and for further study of the topic discussed over the weekend.
That Wednesday, the leader of one of the Communities has organized a special youth night where the husband will be spending time with the guys and the wife will be taking the girls out to dinner as they study the Word together.
As promised, several one-on-one meetings happen along the way and several individuals also show up at that serving opportunity that Saturday that had been mentioned on Sunday by the pastor. Contacts are made. Relationships begin to build. People are invited to do life together. Way Communities keep springing up as people become missionaries where they live, work and play! There are 22,000+ homes in the Casper area so there are plenty of neighbors to love!