Ekklesia is the Greek word used in the New Testament to describe the church. It means a gathering, a community, a united body.
At its very essence, the early church was a community of people living life well together, growing in Jesus, ministering to their community, and experiencing the transformation of God in their lives and in the world around them.
The church is intended to be an authentic community. This can’t take place in a one to two-hour time slot on Sunday mornings alone. Instead, the members of this Christ-centered community must interweave their lives together.
This is not some rigid act of religiosity, but the day-to-day act of finding common interest, sharing meals, experiencing heartache, and celebrating moments together.
I had a conversation with a church member recently about our gatherings. What they conveyed was, "It makes so much sense that we actually spend time together doing something fun. It's like we forgot that we like to be together."
I read this article from Christianity Today (click here), which gives the anthropological and theological reasons behind why we are putting a premium on time together.
Here's an excerpt:
"Research suggests that organizations whose members fail to play often descend into unhealthy seriousness, leading to increasing anxiety and resistance to change. By contrast, study after study shows that play begets creativity, innovation, relationship, rejuvenation, and joy—all qualities found in healthy congregations and their time together both outside and inside of worship."
The study found that churches that play together stay together.
Therefore, we are embarking on our first of three Intentional Summer Gatherings, June 23rd.
This Summer's Gatherings will focus on community through like-interest connections. Each Gathering will feature six different activities to choose from, enjoying more than an hour of conversations, and ending with a meal.
For June' Gathering, you're invited to sign up to participate in one of the following activities: Grilling (whatever is made will be used at the Gathering), Desserts Making (whatever is made will be used at the Gathering), Yoga, Art, Wood Working, or Musical Jam Session (if you have an instrument, bring it. Some instruments provided).
Not seeing anything on the list that interests you? Well, the point is to gather and enjoy being together. So at least grace us with your presence…
Like Connect Groups, the Gatherings are designed for UBC members and friends. Take the challenge and invite someone to join you.
Sign up here for one of the small group activities, so that we can properly prepare, as well as to bring an item for dinner: http://bit.ly/UBCsummer-gathering1
New like-interest activities will be introduced at the July 21 and August 18 Gatherings.