Friday, March 18, 2005


(Further on here). The expresso leadership team met last nite. 5 of us gathered to talk about how we are finding God spiritually, what is church and what a new congregation at Opawa could look like.

Excellent discussion. My summary:
– We’ll meet weekly; with a cycle of 3 weeks of discussion, 1 week of mission, 5th week of fun.
– Looking at Tuesday nites, 8-9 pm, in a local cafe.
– Discussion nites will have an opening ritual and a closing multi-sensory prayer. In between is discussion, with the group choosing the topic/question and different people taking turns to “kick-start” each evening discussion.
– We’re not yet sure about how often we should do communion.
– This will be a congregation of Opawa, seeking to offer a complete church experience, yet seeking to develop it’s own life that could look very different from existing ways that Opawa is church.
– We talked about the tension between small group and being church. How good can a conversation be amongst more than 12 people? If we talk around tables, will that still give us good conversation with a growing mix of one yet many, big yet small? (Any thoughts out there? Can you experience good community in a cafe with 50-70 people clustered around tables talking about one “kick-start”?)

We have gone away, with different individuals working on opening and closing rituals, others on logo’s, others on “group guidelines for a healthy learning experience.”

Posted by steve at 01:40 PM


  1. Great stuff Steve – have you considered eating a meal together? We have found that to be a wonderfully powerful way to create commuinity and express communion.

    Comment by phil — March 18, 2005 @ 3:27 pm

  2. Thanks Phil. We are hoping to meet in a cafe – so coffee definitely, and wondering if people want food, then they can order? Coffee does built community.

    Comment by steve — March 18, 2005 @ 3:42 pm

  3. I love this expresso idea and it being one expression of Opawa. Be interested to hear more about the rituals and guidelines as the project develops.

    Comment by gary manders — March 18, 2005 @ 11:14 pm

  4. Conversations between 50-70 people?
    Hmm. What was it you were doing again?
    How large is that cafe?

    I think size is a difficult thing.The dyanamics of a group of 70 people are different to 20 or 30. Engendering a sense of intimacy, of confidentiality, of community will – I imagine – be rather more difficult. But then I’m only generalising from one example.

    The good thing of course about being “emergent” is that you don’t have to plan anything. Set a few ground rules, set up some initial conditions, and see what emerges. If it turns to sludge, throw out the petri dish and start again.

    Two questions:

    Is it expresso or espresso?

    Are the other 5 people in your team reading this blog?
    If so – hello!

    Comment by James Noble — March 22, 2005 @ 8:52 am

  5. James
    1. the others in the team could be reading this blog.
    2. we’re playing with both “s” and “x”

    3. if (as I think you are) suggesting that community caps at 20-30, then how could we, from the start, avoid becoming a self-contained huddle that new people can’t get into once we hit 31?

    Comment by steve — March 22, 2005 @ 9:40 am

  6. OK, so given that I’m giving advice on the basis that I’m an amateur christian, and don’t know what I’m talking about…

    1. good – I hope so! hi to you all, whomever you may be!

    2. I’d pick “s”. But then I have no problem with pretension. I think 24-hour Party People is a great film because of Steve Coogan’s Tony Wilson, not in spite of him!

    3. I’m not sure what I’m suggesting. One of the advantages of being an armchair critic as against trying something myself is that I don’t have to make these decisions. But I do think that group dynamics are based on group size. If you’re trying to build an intimite, participative community of trust, gaining trust from a group of 25 is different to a group of 50. (For me at least, going to a cafe that seats 25 is different to one that seats 50, whether or not the seats are filled!)

    But, of course, these are problems you want to have, right?
    “Good Problems”. Certainly Cafechurch, I think, ended up self-selecting – so the attendance has remained quite small, although it spun off a daughter group for parents & kids. Northen Community Church suggest splitting groups rather than growing too large:

    I think it depends on how deep. how personal you want the discussing to be.

    Comment by James Noble — March 22, 2005 @ 8:22 pm

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