"What is the church?"
You might be asking yourself this question, or maybe you’re hearing people in your church or ministry ask it. We’ve been asking this question, too, as we’ve explored different expressions of church alongside the Church Planting Institute.
This question may never have a definitive answer—we may be seeking to answer this question forever—but there are consistencies that we can confidently identify.
We’ve seen the Church to be a group of people seeking to join in what God is already doing in a specific area through prayer, gathering together, and attentiveness to the Holy Spirit.
And that can take so many different forms.
This summer, church for us has looked like a gathering we unoriginally named “Monday Night Dinners.” This dinner was birthed out of a nudge we felt from the Spirit to intentionally cultivate community on our street this summer.
A number of new student houses have popped up in our neighborhood, and a smattering of different people come and go throughout the summer months. These meals have become an easy space to invite people into, and it has been exciting to see who will come through our door on any given Monday. We’ve seen a community grow, and the time of fellowship and sharing a meal with so many has become a highlight of our week.
Through these dinners, we’ve been challenged into trusting God regularly as we seek him with intentional (and sometimes very specific) prayers. We pay for the meals out of pocket, but we regularly receive free food and donations from unexpected places. This provision feels like a clear indicator of God’s favor in what we are doing, and we are excited to walk where we see God already moving.
The community we’ve found in our neighborhood has spilled beyond our weekly dinners, and we’ve been so blessed by the way our neighbors have supported us. We’ve seen community form around lawn mowing, shared extension cords and power washers, flowers and garden seedlings, baked goods, open pools, and many good conversations.
Where do you see community forming in your neighborhood, or in your church’s neighborhood? Where is God already moving? What might it look like for you and your church to join in with God at work?
Samantha Brinkman and Jessie Zantingh served as interns with Resonate Global Mission and the Church Planting Institute this summer