We are strongest as a team.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst.” Matthew 18:20 (KJV)
While beginning to write this post, the thought that comes to mind is that it is difficult to see Don’s My City Church experience from a newcomer’s eyes, now that I have been attending for a number of months.
In my life, the word "companions" point to people that have been with us for years as close friends, or newer, more organic relationships that develop, sometimes quickly, or more slowly. A companion can be a friend we meet at a coffee shop, or those we encounter in Team Prayer or at local events. Friends for a day, a season, or in some cases, we hope, for our lifetime.
Some of my closest friendships started with a chance encounter where the roots now have grown deep. These connections for me are truly God-ordained. At My City, I am blessed to have met our pastoral team and many fellow members, some who have become my very close friends. My hope with this blog post is to share both my prayerful thoughts and gratitude for this experience of culture.
A Few Culture Ideas for Our Newer Members
One of the first encounters we have at My City Church is being asked to join a team. I continue to learn to say yes, and serve. Serving tea and coffee is a form of ministry. Showing people open seating is a form of your welcoming spirit. The Security and Parking teams create that first moment of a guest’s experience. And, the Hello team is there to help create the atmosphere that we are all welcome and encouraged to attend. While culture is a broad term, I was reminded early on that the My City church culture is simple. Simply put, I would say loving, warm and very kind.
Here is an overview list of words that resonate from my perspective on our church's culture and worship.
The freedom to sing and dance as part of my Sunday experience is both a draw and a reflection of my creative spirit and zest for life. Other church members may listen to worship music in quiet reflection or contemplation. I love that there is no one "right" style of worship. That signals to me a welcoming and loving spirit where people are free to worship the Lord however they feel led to. It makes the worship experience so much more meaningful and personal.
As a group that comes together on Sunday mornings to celebrate, we also work closely to make sure our new guests feel welcomed from the parking lot to the coffee area. I still remember being handed a black "Following Jesus" book that three men signed on my first visit. Now, as a part of the Host team, when possible, I grab a book, sign my name, plus date and time stamp our gift. Adding “The best is yet to come” is another reminder to our new friends that in Jesus, their future is always brighter than their past. Our hope as a church is that people feel seen, known, and loved because that's how Jesus connects with us.
From praying as a team, to gathering in homes and restaurants during group week, we begin to form ties to others – mentors, friends, and a deeper connection to community. As we come together often and pray for one another, the ties develop more closely. One of my favorite thoughts about the church is that we evangelize without asking people to memorize or practice 14 steps of discipleship. We simply invite others to form a connection at first individually, then as part of our larger Church community. We engage differently as part of our personality, lifestyles, education, life goals, and needs for finding companions that will help us become the man or woman that God has called us to be. We are intentional with how we do life together in community so we can sharpen one another in the faith and lift up the name of Jesus in our city.
"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)
Biblical and Living Truth
Our pastoral team teaches from the Bible, the inspired Word of God, and from personal experience. The relevancy of having pastoral couples, husbands and wives sharing their lives with our community, is strong. Real people, couples living life, working, being parents, and serving as pastors. Plus, they offer solid examples of their joys, past hurts, and triumphant God moments. While we are real about our life struggles, we still stand on the Word of God and strive to live like Jesus in every aspect of our lives.
Relevant to Today
We are only promised this day. While Sunday brings us together, our homes, workplaces, and places of entertainment give us an open forum to build community and show who our God is, while also demonstrating our faith journey even before we begin to speak about Him. For me, the genuine desire to share our lives with each other and talk openly about faith, finances, personal struggles, anxiety and hope makes me eager to continue on this path at My City Church.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
My City Church has given me a new structure and community to grow within my faith and relationships. My hope is that I will continue to stay growth focused. I pray for myself and all of you that we will continue to serve well and accelerate in all dimensions of life. I am most grateful to have found My City Church and a community that has welcomed me in with open arms and a loving spirit.
Love God. Love People. Lead in Life.
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