We do spend a lot of time together. Sometimes it is in worship, other times it is at meetings, or a clean-up day, or a special Saturday evening event. We see a lot of each other. However, sometimes we donâ€™t really spend time in such a way that we really get to ask each other some â€˜deeperâ€™ questions â€”questions which allow us to know each other a bit better, to understand who we are, where we came from, and possibly why we are a part of this particular congregation.
One of the greatest dilemmas of our society today is that we donâ€™t spend real time with folks. We are usually doing something, like running off to a meeting or driving a child to a lesson or athletic practice. We miss out on family dinners, are too over-scheduled to visit friends or even family that might just live an hour away. Our lives are filled with obligations, which donâ€™t necessarily build community.
However, we need to catch a breath and spend some real time together, being like the first converts to the faith as is described in the book of Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2: â€œ46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.â€ They shared much time togetherâ€”time that was important, when they spoke of their concerns, part took in each otherâ€™s lives.
With the thought of buildingâ€“or better yetâ€“deepening our community, the Invitation and Outreach Committee set up a special coffee hour with the initiative of Getting to Know You. Some folks who went on the retreat to Boston several years ago may remember how the church which we visited did something similar. Their program was sitting people in one-to-one conversations. After a few minutes two groups would gather together. And then again after a few minutes two groups would be combined again.
The Invitation and Outreach Committee did our Getting to Know You initiative a bit more loosely. Folks were invited to gather around the six tables wherever they wished and several questions were provided as a starting off point. They were: Where you grew up is there a special smell, location, or view that you like to recall? What is/was the favorite part of you job, your working at home, or your retirement? Do you enjoy a hobby? What place do you want to visit; and what attracts you to it? What do you appreciate most about this congregation? The Committee did not organize the groups in any particular way, however the conversations went on a long time; it seemed that we all had much to share with one another. In general, all who participated did feel that we learned more about the folks we spoke with.
It is so imperative, especially being as small as we are, that we really know one another, share in each others burdens and joys, in order to be as one body. Thatâ€™s when we can really be a transformational living community.