As we are preparing for our Ethos Christmas Gatherings, we want to take just a moment to explain what you can expect in the weeks following Christmas (Dec. 27th & Jan. 3rd). Hopefully, this will help you joyfully prepare while also giving you a deeper understanding as to why our church family will not be gathering at the Cannery, MMW, or Ruby on Dec. 27th & Jan. 3rd, and how you can make the most of this time with your house churches, friends, and family.
Each year, our church intentionally takes a few Sundays to meet in homes instead of all gathering together in one of our worship venues.
#1: PROACTIVE REST & SPIRITUAL FORMATION
Deep within the theological frame work of the Bible is a theology of proactive rest. We see this in the creation story; we see this with the people of Israel as they observed weekly and yearly rhthyms of rest; we see this in the life and teachings of Jesus, and we see this in the Bible’s teachings about the Kingdom of God.
Rest was God’s idea.
In fact, the Bible makes it clear that life is best enjoyed when we choose to be people that rest in anticipation of what God will do as opposed to only resting from the exhaustion of what we’ve tried to accomplish on our own. You see this in the way that the Hebrew day was ordered [started with evening (rest) and ended with day (work)].
We live in a busy culture.
So from the beginning of our church’s short history, we have made it a point to intentionally dial things back from time to time. We believe God has some great things in store for the year ahead. As a church family, we want to create space to breathe, rest, and prepare our hearts for what is to come. The next two Sundays are a reflection of that desire.
#2: PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS
Secondly, we believe the scriptures clearly teach that the church is the people (not a building or a place), and that each of those people carries the divine responsibility of reflecting the goodness of God into the world around them. This is an easy thing to speak about, but an even easier thing to forget in practice.
If we aren’t intentional, church becomes a place we go rather than a people we are becoming.
The Bible is clear that each person’s spiritual formation is shaped first in the home not in the “temple courts.” We have found that choosing to periodically break from our church wide worship gatherings forces us all to get back to our roots. It reminds us that it is all of our responsibilities to open God’s word, create spaces of worship, and invite people into these places with us.
#3: YOUR PRIMARY MISSION FIELD
Finally, we believe that your home and your neighborhood serve as your primary place of missional calling. We have found that many of our neighbors are wiling to come over to our house for a brunch and a time of prayer long before they are willing to come with us to a “church service.” I pray the next two Sundays will be a great first step or next step towards God for many of the people that live near us.
HOW DO YOU MAKE THE MOST OUT OF THESE TWO SUNDAYS?
It is amazing what just a little bit of preparation will do. Our team has put together some great resources to get you started. I would encourage you to look through the resources. You can find them here. Remember, the resources are designed to help you. Don’t feel as though you are confined to them. The resources for January 4th will appear online the morning of December 29th.
Be bold. Invite your friends and family over. Don’t wait until the day of, make the call or send the text today. If your house church is meeting, invite your friends and family to join your house church. Nothing happens if you don’t invite.
Pray that God would do more than you could hope for. Trust me, no one wants your friends and family to love Jesus more than Jesus does. Trust Him.
#4: HAVE FUN
Just relax. God has a way of doing the most amazing things when we are willing to relax and have a little fun.
So in conclusion, our church isn't taking a break from "doing church on Dec. 27th & Jan 3rd." We are simply being the church a bit differently. We are praying the next few Sundays will be fun, challenging and refreshing!