Saturday, March 31, 2018

And now for something completely different...

Over the last few months, we've become convinced of the need for focused teaching in the assembly about some of the foundational truths "we all know." The fact is, there are a lot of things we all assume everyone knows. We don't always recognize that not everyone in the room recognizes the allusions we're making.

In the midst of this, a younger woman in the assembly sent an email to a few of the older brothers (not me) asking about Romans 6–8, Colossians 3, and Galatians 5. It seemed like a good place to start...

Our first response was to fill a Saturday with meetings. I mentioned it to my wife, who pointed out several issues with having a day of meetings. We went back to the drawing board, so to speak, and came up with a different plan.

So here's our current plan:

First, we're going to meet this Friday night. Most folks don't have to work or go to school Saturday morning, so Friday night relieves some of that pressure. A lot of families have commitments on weekends, so if we avoid Saturdays, we can get more attendance.

Second, we're having one meeting per night, rather than filling a day with meetings. People my age and older seem to enjoy spending a day or a whole weekend sitting in meetings, especially when there are a lot of interactive meetings (like Bible readings) and opportunities for discussion. Perhaps it's an age thing, perhaps it's just a faster-paced culture, but it seems like most people would prefer to sit for fewer meetings. Interestingly, people seem to prefer to have one meeting a day across several days, than to have several meetings on a single day.

Third, we're going to provide food. We think it will simplify things for everyone if we just order some pizzas and spend the first forty-five minutes eating. We think it'll make it easier for people to come out if they don't have to squeeze a meal in between work and meeting.

Fourth, we've sent out a link to a Google Doc by email that outlines the answers to the original questions. I'll be honest, I wrote the document, and it's pretty much just a digest of AQ posts on the topic. We've invited people to comment on the document to try and encourage as many questions as possible before the meetings.

Fifth, we've invited people to bring electronics to access the Google Doc, take notes, and even make comments during the meeting itself.

Sixth, we're planning to try for one Friday night per month. We figure once a month is a cadence that should allow us to maintain forward momentum while at the same time not making it too difficult for people to make it out.

Seventh, we're budgeting about half the time for socializing. Since we're deliberately attempting to help out younger people, we want to ensure we don't just make them lose out on Friday night.

I have no idea how this will work out. It seems the perpetual challenge is to convey the message in a way people can hear it, without changing the message. That's a whole lot harder than it sounds.

I'll keep you posted.


Susan said...

Yes, please keep us posted!
PS - Thanks for the updated picture!

Anonymous said...

Mark, this is a great initiative. We badly need systematic instruction in the basics of the Christian faith. Hardly a Sunday goes past without someone in our fellowship making a remark that should be regarded as heterodox. eg the Father is routinely thanked for dying for us. These Christians are all keen evangelicals. (Maybe that is exactly the problem!). I've only one suggestion for improvement - livestream this for your friends on the other side of the Atlantic!

clumsy ox said...

It didn't even occur to me to think about recording the sessions...

We're planning on having the first meeting in a few hours...

I'm hoping people have read [at least some of] the document we sent out via email. The goal of sending it out ahead of time was to have people read, comment, question, and come ready to discuss.

We're trying for something sort of half-way between a lecture and a reading meeting. I wrote down some notes for a talk as a presentation. We're not actually going to project the slide deck, but the format lends itself to a streamlined, pointed flow of thought.

We've also purchased several copies of True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer and The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee. They're available for people to take, if they want to do further reading.