Dinner. Sharing stories. For-real check ins.
It’s a simple concept, but it’s not an obvious one. The conventional wisdom these days is that we’re so busy, the only way to get folks to engage is to make it as easy, short, and simple as possible. To ask that people meet every single week, for 2 hours or more, for 8 weeks, and maybe longer – it’s too much.
But the fact that we are over-programmed is only one part of the truth; the other, is that we are under-belonged.
I know, “belonged” isn’t technically a word. But it helps describe how it happens.
Belonging isn’t passive – it’s active, it takes work, and discipline, and commitment – from us, and from others. Belonging requires partnership.
Although we have more opportunities than ever before for connection, belonging is in short supply. Only when we decide to prioritize opportunities for real connection, when we show up for true relationship with those who are committed to true relationship with us – can it really take hold.
This is the theory behind our Gather Groups – a new initiative that isn’t so much an initiative as a whole new way of being together.
Last month at our Group Link we launched 8 new Gather Groups – and 2 pilot groups were already under way – that makes 10 groups of about 10, all of whom are following that simple formula: Dinner, Sharing Stories (related to faith), For-Real Check-ins. Every Week. Eight weeks – and then…maybe more, or something else, or – who knows.
Simple, but not easy – and not that short. Simple, and transformational.
Meanwhile, we’re piloting a Leadership version – which uses the same formula while intentionally putting mentors (i.e. longtime church leaders) with mentees (potential future leaders) to intentionally tend to leadership development in our congregation. We’re also piloting a Family version, where families with their children meet to gather and grow together, in community. We’ll be launching both of these in their full versions by the fall.
If you missed that first Group Link, not to worry – we’re offering another one on March 17th. More info and sign up here.
When I look to our future as a congregation, I am excited about the breadth of our potential impact, but I am also overwhelmed by the depth of our potential connections, the power we have to ease the central dis-ease of life today – our separation, our isolation, our longing to be known, and to know one another – for real.