Last night we had the first of 2 vision evenings. You can listen to the recording of the evening here.
Father, Son, and Spirit, bound in love, welcome us into their community of love, which finds its expression in human – that is, broken, joyful, annoying, wonderous, difficult, surprising – communities of love.
We’ve just completed a short series on Sundays entitled “Renewing our Community Groups”. Community Groups have long been really, really important in the life of OCC! Community Groups are OCC's midweek groups, small groups, house groups, fellowship groups – whatever you want to call them!
“What are Community Groups for?”
Our Community Groups seek to be community in our transient, multi-cultural, 21st Century city. They love, serve, and reach the wider community, which could be those you live and work with, people in your local area, a certain demographic, or a group that you serve through a particular project.
The idea of belonging to a church - or any other organisation for that matter - is increasingly alien in the world today. Tim Keller tweets: "Everyone says they want community and friendship. But mention accountability or commitment to people, and they run the other way." Krish Kandiah discerns a movement "towards a more eclectic individualistic spirituality.”
Why then does OCC hold to a habit of 'formal church membership'?
Recently I came across this tweet, which could sum up pretty much all that needs saying on this topic: "Church is a Spirit-filled family, not a weekly experience."
Assistant Pastor Sanjay Mahtani often puts it this way: "OCC: Community is our middle name!" And I can sometimes be heard to complain, "We don't go to church, we are the church!"
I've just got home from the first Cafe Church at Costa on the Cowley Road. There were about 25 of us, including 4 or 5 people who I'd not met before. It was great to meet new people, and a great venue to sit and talk about things that really matter.
The subject for the evening was 'Confidence', as in self-confidence and self-esteem. Now, I can confess that I went to the evening thinking that the subject would be of interest to others, but not something that felt tremendouly meaningful to me.