I guess it should actually be Regional Gathering 102. Last year, I attended the Brantford Regional Gathering as part of Uncrowded House, our Hamilton based house church. This year I wore two hats: my Uncrowded House chapeau and my brand new FMC Social Media Journalist hat.
Feeling like a newbie in both, I was a little nervous about spending the day with a bunch of pastors speaking pastor-speak but I love learning (read “borrowing” great ideas) about what is happening in other congregations and hearing what God is up to in local communities.
The morning started with Freedom Christian Community’s worship team leading in song. First ah-ha of the day: these pastors can sing. And coming from a worship team of two guitarists and a djembe drummer in training I totally enjoyed every note (minimal offense should be taken here as I am married to one of the guitarists and I am said drummer.)
Following worship, Bishop Keith presented his study from the Book of Acts on the theme of “Gazing”. He asked us to think about the disciples gazing at Jesus as He ascended to heaven. At that moment could the disciples have imagined that the gospel would travel across continents and cultural barriers? Unimagined things happened and it started with the Spirit of God stirring in His people. Bishop Keith then asked us to gaze. And then to imagine what’s next for ministry together in our region. The second ah-ha of the day: this is going to be different in a good way.
After praying that we would be open to what the Spirit has to say to us, Dan Sheffield facilitated a workshop that enabled us to set the agenda and smaller discussion groups that were to follow. I participated in regional resourcing, community outreach and children/youth/families discussions where there was a willingness to share, listen and encourage. After the discussion groups we came back together to decide a way forward for our region and to make connections to ensure that the imagined thoughts and ideas would not stop here but turn into the unimagined.
It was pretty cool of the leadership team to allow the day to be Spirit-led. And what the Spirit had to say to us was even cooler.
And as for pastor-speak I only had to look up two words when I got home. Not bad really.
Since Regional Gathering I have started gazing and imagining what’s next for ministry in our house church. I imagine a food truck – very Hamilton. I imagine a ministry that could take us into different parts of our neighborhood where both body and spirit could be nourished. I imagine this food truck being shared with other churches in the city or with other FMC churches in the region.
Imagine the unimagined then imagine God’s Kingdom.
By Alison McKinnon
Social Media Journalist