Sunday, May 24, 2009

today I split the church

And it seemed to work well! In our Sunday morning congregation I am preaching through the gospel of Mark. The text today was Mark 1:14-20. Jesus comes proclaiming the Kingdom and forming a community around that proclaimation. It seemed a good time to talk about the (me-God) gospel of individual salvation in contrast to the gospel of Kingdom community. (Beautifully summarised by Scot McKnight here and here.)

Now for some people, I wondered if this might be new. But for others at Opawa, it might not be at all. Equally, some at Opawa enjoy the Bible backfilling, while others like to get practical and to discuss.

Which is how I split the church. After a 12 minute introduction, I offered people a choice. Those who wanted more Bible were welcome to stay and I would provide a further 10 minutes of background.

Those who wanted to discuss and apply, were welcome to move into the foyer. I had made up a worksheet, and they could gather in groups, discuss and note their observations, and were welcome to return for the final song and benediction.

We have a growing culture of participation and workshopping in groups. And our foyer has sofas. So while this is the first time I’ve done something like this in terms of offering choice within a sermon, it seemed to work well, to cater for a range of learning styles all within one overall framework.

(For those interested, here is the worksheet I made up, simply taking two of my powerpoint slides, adding three questions, blowing them up as A3 and providing pens.)

Posted by steve at 05:33 PM


  1. I’m interested to know the size of the sanctuary/foyer groups. Was it what you expected?

    Comment by Lisa — May 25, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  2. Never done this before, so have no idea and my rule of thumb is do too many, for sake of hospituality. I had imagined groups of 5-6 and had prepared 6 worksheets ie 30 people. 3 worksheets were filled out, but I’m not sure exactly how many were out.

    A number commented that they would normally have gone, but were enjoying the sermon too much! Wierd aye.

    It’s something I’d like to do again, it makes so much sense of multiple learning styles, just needs a bit of organisation (took about an hour to nail the worksheet) and a sermon that “falls” in that way structurally


    Comment by steve — May 26, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

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