Some of you will be surprised that I would advise having a practice run. Why? Because you don’t want to show up your first day and try to figure things out. This goes for missional communities, and public space churches as well as for box churches. There will be lots of things to figure out if you’re going to do something outside of the box. Even in a missional community setting, you’ve got to try running a potluck, figure out where people will sit, and get all of the choreography out of the way. Talk over the fears, do some role play, practice the conversational flow…
When we launched out of the Starbucks, it had been an accident. We didn’t expect thirty people to turn up. It was the start of something and I didn’t want to be in ministry anymore. What I’d wanted to see was if somebody could lead a group of nonbelievers in a way that would combine the core elements of Starbucks, AA and a church together. We weren’t prepared for what happened as the Holy spirit began to move through our midst. Then we asked the question, if we wanted to move this whole thing to a place where we could lead worship, could we keep it the way it was? We wanted to introduce the Starbucks crowd to worship, lengthen the teaching a little, and then keep the discussion that we’d grown so fond of in our reading group. We did. It worked. In fact, on a Sunday morning, I discovered that sitting around coffee tables allowed the use of spiritual gifts, provided opportunities to practice the “one anothers”, and allowed people to get real. Getting real allowed them to get help. It was a thing of beauty. For the first time in my ministry, the tail wasn’t wagging the dog. Mission was driving the shape of the church I’d planted. I wasn’t doing mission outside of Sundays and trying to get people to come to a “service”. Sunday was the mission. We chanted the mantra endlessly “Sundays aren’t for you. They’re for the lost”. People got it. Home groups popped up one by one, and we told our people that these meetings were for them. We introduced weekly communion, prayer times, afterglows, and more discussion. Discipleship was happening organically and we’d kept our promise that if they went on mission with us on Sunday, we’d look after them in the week. It was all going well until the mission started invading our community groups too.
People started coming to faith there too.
Oh well. Worse things could happen, and nobody complained.
I’ve digressed from my main point, but the choreography of running a church service with discussion poses some problems. How will you organize the chairs? We went to Ikea, bought some coffee tables and made an 8 chairs around the coffee table rule. We set up 6 clusters of 8 chairs and tables. Now we had to figure out how we were going to serve the coffee and cakes during the service without disrupting things. We determined that during the song of response, after the message, we’d have people bring out a big tray with coffee and tea and cakes on it. This required a bit of planning, and organization, not to mention baking. Setting up and tearing down the sound system was a challenge. Working out where the speaker would stand, and whether there was room for the worship leader to play were all considerations.
My crew were committed to authenticity and the moving of the Holy Spirit. They were focused on people, and gospel centric. They were averse to running a show, and suspicious of anything that seemed disingenuous, but they were especially glad that I didn’t throw them in the deep end on our launch day and make them figure everything out in front of a bunch of strangers.
That was also helpful in Long Beach where we planned on cooking breakfast for 100 people right before church.
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.