Tuesday, June 30, 2015
About a month ago, our elders, staff, and deacons meet to pray and plan through things our church should focus on in the coming year. The main theme that drove our retreat was rhythms. Paul says in Ephesians 5:15-16, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” There is a single verb for the phrase "making the best use of the time" that means redeem or buy up. We must actively resist the pull of sin and evil in the world and take advantage of opportunities to do good and grow in holiness.
After reflecting on the last year, who we are, and what kind of people live in San Jose we needed a way to get build stronger community in our church and with our friends and neighbors. This led to us doing some more detailed research on who lives in our city. San Jose is extremely diverse and also younger than most cities. Its primary demographic however is affluent families and this is especially true in our immediate neighborhood. One of the more notable pieces of information we gathered was the value of recreation in comparison to the general US population. Whether due to the riches of outdoor activities and favorable climate in the Bay Area or seeking a release from the pressures of work, people seek things to do for fun.
Therefore, we identified simple and consistent ways we can connect with people, especially families and working professionals. Things that most of us do frequently anyway. The other value is to have something you would feel comfortable inviting someone to. You can see the various things we have planned on our church calendar on our website. They are as follows:
1) Every 2nd and 4th Saturday morning at 10am several of us will be at a local park. Our kids can play together and maybe a few of us adults can have a conversation! This is a good opportunity for parents of young children to connect.
2) Thursday nights at San Pedro Market at 7pm. If you haven't checked out the cool San Pedro Market downtown you should. There are numerous great places to eat, desert, live music, and plenty of places to hang out. Anyone can come but this is geared towards those who don't have to worry about "bedtime."
3) Every 4th Friday we will have a movie night. This last week we showed Big Hero 6 and had more 40 people come and half were friends of people in our church. Sometimes the movie will be family oriented and sometimes it will not be. Stay tuned for what comes next!
4) "Adventure Saturday." This last month we had the Dwell Golf Tournament which was a great success. The idea here is that people in the Bay Area, and our international students in particular, like to go and do new things. I once read the quickest way to make friends in the Bay Area is to try new stuff. Well, thats the premise here.
How does this connect with our overall ministry? Our largest gathering is for Worship on Sunday morning. Our Gospel Groups meet during the week for fellowship, Bible Study, and prayer. But we have lacked more casual and inviting spaces to build relationships with people and share the love of Christ. We call these "Affinity Groups" that we believe will fuel mission and community both for our groups and for us individually. If Sunday morning worship is our "front door" and individual relationships and groups are a "back door," we hope these opportunities will provide a natural "side door" into the ministry of our church.
Are there other fun get-togethers or activities you want to see happen? You are more than welcome to get something going. These are ones that we thought we should not neglect and we hope it fosters deeper relationships both with each other and with Christ through our love for people.
Remember to keep checking out our calendar at http://www.dwellsj.com/#!calendar/c1jx9