Ordinary Community Church, what does community mean to you?
Above is the Photo ellicitation project for our DMin GML cohort. This was a fascinating journey to learn what others in the community see through their eyes by using photographs to explain. It was actually really emotional to read some of their profound stories. We have lived a decade of pain and beauty, as any church does, and this is our Ordinary story.
Here is what I learned:
Children are central to our story. I was amazed as the photos came in how many of them saw our community faith through the eyes of the kids. When we first started out, this was our largest question: What do we do with the kids? We tried everything, and just landed on letting them become an organic part of the larger community. Realizing that segmenting age groups really has its roots in corporate marketing and generational target groups, the Body of Christ is whole together. We embrace the chaos of having kids in and amongst us in any part of worship, they are never a distraction. We just roll with it. What we’re learning is in this environment, kids choose in themselves. They want to be there by their choice, they are attracted naturally to the worshipping community. What was a major question for us a decade ago, has become a strength.
Events play a larger role in galvinizing community than I thought. The pics were largely of parties, retreats, public worship times and celebrations. Life is mostly lived in the ordinary and the daily, but events play a role in providing community memory, marking values with larger experiences.
Community is tangible. It is not a buzz-word, it isn’t a ‘fluffy’ notion, it’s real. You know when it’s present and you know when it’s not. We have strived to make it our “point” in the midst of individualist American culture. We are still learning what it really means, but it’s messy and painful at times. However, at this point, I can never opt out. I belong to them and they belong to me. It is not my Christianity, it is ‘our’ Christianity.
After 10 years, I have spent all year reflecting on who we are as a community, where we have come from and where should we be seeking to go. This project helped me see the answers to these questions through the eyes of other. Very inspiring. I think we’ll keep going, time to re-up for another decade of asking for His Kingdom to come, on earth as it is in heaven.