Monday, October 15, 2007

Ekklesia (gathering)

Jess and I have a new job (#3 job for both of us now). We are working as ‘interns’ for the 18+ college/careers group at our church, St John’s Shaughnessy. The group’s name is Ekklesia, which is a New Testament Greek word that means ‘gathering’, which implies more of a gathering in a house (church), than a formal meeting in an institutional church.

It’s a wonderfully simple model of Christian fellowship – we meet on a Wednesday night at 6:30pm where about 30 of us share a meal together. We do a few simple things as a group: we get to know each other better through some sharing times and ‘spotlights’ on individuals; we encourage each other with what we have been reading/learning in the bible; we pray for each other, sometimes we break-up in prayer-quads. Then we split off into 3 separate bible study groups, which wrap-up at 9:30.

Our role is great – we administer the group (the planning and legwork behind the scenes), we do a lot of the upfront leadership, and we share the responsibility of leading and shepherding the younger bible study group. Plus, we are given a Starbucks card to take Ekklesia people out for coffee! One big reason why we are doing the job, and also a joy of the job, is that we lead under Ken Moser – it is great to be working with Ken & Julie again!

I see some really healthy signs in this group: new people are welcomed and integrated quickly and we get new people every week; there is a hunger for God’s word to be taught; there is a desire to reach out and bless our community (although we are still working out how/what to do); people have time and care for one another. The Lord is doing something with this group – it’s great to be onboard when the Lord is working!

Another testimony to this group rang loud and clear this weekend … we were meant to go on a weekend retreat together. What would be a worst case scenario arriving at a campsite? Discovering the site had been double-booked with 90 boy/girl scouts under the age of 12 is one possible answer. We had to cancel the retreat. We went to a cold beach and hung out for a few hours, which ended up being a warm and enjoyable time together. Us leaders proposed meeting the following day a 3pm, have 2 of our 3 planned talks, have a great meal together and then go on, as planned, to our ‘mystery’ activity, Curling. Many people also met at 11am for a picnic on a glorious Autumn day in Vancouver, and the group hung out together in a home after Curling. All smiles, lots of laughs, no bitterness, but some understood disappointment. Ekklesia made the most of a potentially horrid situation, and we had a great time together!

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