Building Community at Church

Submitted by Nastinia Bailey on October 25, 2014 - 6:42pm
Paul comes to speak about Deepening Community

Our church dedicated six weeks this Fall to the theme of community building. I’m sad it’s over already!

Paul came to the first and last Sunday to first launch the series with a sermon and adult Sunday School and then to close the series with another sermon and Sunday School. How did it go?

I loved it! But how do we measure success? I did not conduct a survey so all I have to go on is what I felt and observed - as well as a small group discussion tonight with 7 other adults from the church.

The most powerful parts of the Sunday mornings for me were the adult Sunday School classes. Paul introduced us to the structure of the “triad” where we got into groups of three, were given a topic to share about (“When have you felt a sense of community at church?”), and were given three rotating roles: listener, asker of “tell me more”, and the talker. I was only able to participate in two of the classes but was struck by how I made a new heart-connection with at least one person in my group both Sundays and learned something new and important about these people. For example, one person shared with us a learning challenge her child has which I’d never realized before. She revealed the struggles she felt in supporting her child. This led to the other person sharing about struggles with her child. I had no idea these two people faced these challenges! On Sunday morning they look lovely and happy with no sign of the challenges they face and cope with day to day in parenting. I felt honoured to be allowed to see behind their masks. The conversation left me wanting to talk more.

In hindsight, this connection happened because of the triad structure. One woman is a strong introvert who would not have shared so much about herself had she not been given the five minutes and had us to listen attentively and coax more from her. The triad also helps create a balance in the sharing so that we aren’t left with one person spilling their guts and the other two listening. It was a mutual sharing of genuine life reflections.

A big highlight for many was the Sunday service dedicated to humour. The worship leaders had us throwing paper airplanes, giggling, singing in a big circle, clapping and almost dancing (this is big for Mennonites!). I loved hearing my children laughing during the church service at the puppet, wig, rabbit fingers and other silly things the worship leader surprised us with. They were engrossed the whole time. Somehow, at the same time, there were many holy moments when I felt connected to those around me and with God.

Next, our family is forming a small group with 3 other couples and we’ll meet about once a month to get to know each other better. We are also joining in a new hiking group at church! Maybe I’ll even make it to the new book club that has formed as a part of this community-building effort underway.

Comments:
Thank You

Thanks so much for posting this entry on the site.

 

Do you recommend a more humour-filled teaching method when it comes to church? Would you want all services to be like that, or just once in a while?