By Cameron Silsbee and Josh Porter

Begin with prayer

Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Take a moment to sit in silence in the presence of Jesus and each other. Have one person read Isaiah 6v1-8 over the group and then pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. 

Debrief the teaching and previous Practice

  1. Did you make any adjustments to your rhythms of connecting with God?
  2. How does the idea of being a part of the Body of Christ (the church), with a specific role and purpose, strike you?
  3. What experiences have been important for you in understanding the value of church?

Read this overview

It’s easy to allow the modern, Western culture to shape how we understand church. What happens on Sunday is often referred to as a “service”—a product provided by ministry leaders for churchgoing consumers.

The Scriptures paint a very different picture of church; A family. The church is made up of brothers and sisters brought together as people rescued and redeemed by King Jesus. The church, according to the Scriptures, is a family where one seeks to contribute and participate in self-sacrificial love, concerned for others rather than themselves. 

To participate in the church, we’re invited, encouraged, and commanded by the Scriptures to consistently show up and participate. It’s only then that we can understand and experience church as God intended.

Do this Practice right now

It’s time to entertain a candid, vulnerable conversation about expectations and commitment. Be kind and gentle with one another while embracing the opportunity to hold one another accountable in love.

A necessary part of calling Van City home has been consistently showing up and participating in the Sunday Gathering and to a Van City Community. If we show up for one and not the other, we are not participating in the life of the church. This broken dynamic creates a Sunday gathering populated by people whose lives are not open and accountable to other disciples of Jesus, and it creates fractured communities populated by people who have no grasp on how God is shaping and leading our church every Sunday through prayer, worship, prophecy, and communion.

Discuss the following questions

Keep in mind that the point here is to have a candid conversation, not to demean anyone. If you can not speak with kindness and grace at the moment or feel reticent to speak to issues that may be difficult, consider writing what you’d like to say out after Community and either sending it or reading it to the group next week (with a heads up that you’d like to take time to do that).

Have one person take notes when it comes to any practical actions and steps the group will undertake. If any notes are taken, make sure they are sent to the whole group after the conversation.

  • How has attending the Gathering and Community positively impacted your life?
  • How has someone’s absence (at Community or the Gathering) been felt or noticed by you?
  • Do you feel like you need to grow in this area? Does your Community agree? If you need to grow, how can your Community help encourage and hold you accountable to the need for growth?
  • How will you lovingly hold one another accountable to the expectation to grow towards being present at Community and the Gathering every week? (e.g., Calls or text messages to check in when someone isn’t there, reminding them of the expectation.)

Close in prayer

End in prayer be having one person read the Nicene Creed over the group.

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.