Week 6: Worshiping — We’re Created to Worship Together

Verse to Remember: “You have six days to do your work, but the seventh day of each week is holy because it belongs to me.” — Leviticus 23:3 (CEV)
[Read More] thoughts on weekly Session 6 (the last one) of Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Community, including our special guest and future directions for our group and leadership.

Rick’s teaching was on giving as an act of worship, focused on money. It was good — it echoed some of my own thoughts about how giving money away desecrates the altar of materialism. But, I don’t place a high value on money, and I’ve been tithing as long as I can remember, so it wasn’t very impactful by itself. To be sure, it did remind me that giving is essential, and I’m very weak at giving of my time, energy, and self, so that part of the lesson I do need to learn.

The most intriguing aspect was a visit from Pastor Joe Elston, who was visiting the various 40 Days groups. Ironically, I had roomed with him, and we had together won a very contentious volleyball game! We all talked about continuing on as a general ‘Personal Touch’ group now that the 40 Days are over. Our leader was going to be out of town for a couple months, though, so he was hoping I’d run it in the meantime.

I begged off, as I felt that I didn’t know enough about what a PT group was to commit to lead one. Plus, we didn’t really have any other committed members, and I wanted to be part of group, not trying to create one (that’s why we Ieft the church plant, after all!). Perhaps even more importantly, I’m not yet clear on what Harvest’s vision of a small group is, and how it aligns with mine.

My vision is one where the leaders are socialized into the process of nurturing bottom-up community, where we all edify each other as we grow in vulnerability and transparency. Our current 40 Days group is more top-down, where the leader imparts his personal experience of God to those younger in the faith. I suspect that’s not the ideal, and our leader appears to be struggling to move toward a more bottom-up approach. Which probably means I need to discern how best to help him in that regard.

Even so, I think I also need to understand how (or even if) the leadership of the church sees that issue, and what their process is for nurturing healthy small group leadership. Quarterly meetings and sporadic coaching may work well for training new leaders, but re-training old leaders used to a different style is much more difficult: there’s so much we think we know (and are comfortable with) that we have to give up.

The current plan is for Sandhya and I to join with another existing/starting PT group during the summer, and come September when they start the next wave we can see if there’s enough people and momentum to ‘calve off’ a new group. Hopefully that will both provide fellowship right away, and grant us all a richer vision of what a healthy group should look like.