Several years ago as a student at Calvin Seminary I had the opportunity to learn from many passionate leaders and pastors involved in the Renewal Lab. Today I am a bi-vocational pastor working on a church plant called Good News Gatherings, while also working for the CRCNA’s Safe Church Ministry.
Our church plant is made up of a variety of people experimenting with what it means to live out the identity of the church in the places we live, work, and play; specifically we are hoping to encourage, equip, and empower each other to be disciples of Jesus and make disciples in every community we are a part of. For us this means we are trying to re-envision the places we are already going as places we are sent by God to be his faithful presence.
One place of play and recreation that my wife and I are involved in is the Ultimate Frisbee community — not to be confused with Disc Golf (no hard feelings disc golfers). Ultimate Frisbee involves a lot of sprinting and is more similar to American football in that you have to score in the end-zone, but of course it is played with a disc and has several other differences. I wish I had more space just to talk about this sport that has a “spirit of the game” written into the rules and about the organization I help with: Grand Rapids Ultimate. However, to be honest, I don’t think the sport itself is really all too important.
The Ultimate Frisbee community is just like any other group that comes together over a shared affinity — like cross-fit, yoga, poetry groups, or brewing guilds. Each of these communities have their own special values that we as the church can (and should) identify and celebrate. As we become integrated into these communities by being their guests, learning from them, receiving their hospitality, grieving with them in their losses, and hurting with their pains, we have an incredible opportunity to live out the identity of Christ’s beloved church through the faith, hope and love given by our triune God. We have been blessed by the grace of Jesus to be a blessing.
Questions for Discussion:
- What communities are you already a part of that God is calling you to be a faithful presence in?
- Are there other followers of Jesus in these communities that you can partner with?
- After taking time to share life by being their guest, how can you reciprocate hospitality?
The Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Lesslie Newbigin
The Church as Movement: Starting and Sustaining Missional-Incarnational Communities by Dan White Jr. & J.R. Woodward