April 27, 2008

finding our congregational voice

Churches breed passivity. Over years, congregations have newsletters thrust into hands, visions spoken over their lives and the Bible dictated to them. It's a lazy form of Christianity that breeds passive consumers.

Over the last few weeks, it has felt like Opawa has finally found it's voice. Twice in the last 2 weeks, in the middle of sermon, I have invited congregational engagement, and been delighted by the depth of engagement and interaction.

Today we were exploring Acts 8:26-40 and I invited one third of the congregation to be the Ethiopian, another to be Philip, another third to be angel/Spirit/Lord. What began as a simply Bible reading suddenly developed into a vigorous chaired engagement back and forth between each of these groups.

It's taken 4.3 years of encouragement and risk taking and perseverance, as people have got used to being asked to think, have realised that they can learn for themselves and that we are richer as we work together on the text.

Posted by steve at April 27, 2008 11:21 PM

What a great way to engage a large group (ie congregation). Ironically, Acts 8:26-40 was the passage that was used at our church. What were you using the passage to talk about?

Posted by: wokboy at April 28, 2008 12:36 AM

As people who were there in the congregation,we both commented on how stimulating it was! Thanks, Steve. Hope you do it again some time. And we love your life stories too.

Posted by: Maureen at April 28, 2008 08:39 AM

Wokboy, my 3 main points were
- chase what God is doing
- celebrate God active across cultures
- pay attention no matter what the season - i was struck by Philip who in acts 6, serves tables, acts 8 was part of amazing moment in cross-cultural mission then disappears until acts 21 where he appears as father of 4 who are prophetesses. at each season he is following God in the now, not the past.

but the congregation preached this far better than me. they worse awesome, engaging with text and each other


Posted by: steve at April 28, 2008 11:14 AM
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