A month ago I reflected outreach as sharing our faith. At our last council meeting I asked us to reflect on events that we could have that would allow us to share with others our faith. Thinking more on this I have been wondering how best to keep anything we plan to do as natural and organic to our life together as a congregation. This line of thought is trying to think through why our one Beer Bread and the Bible was something we as a congregation found enriching to our faith and community life and a place where our friends Christian and non-christian felt welcome to come and participate. There are couple things that I think were important for the Beer Bread and the Bible: we were interested in reading James and the in the themes of James, it was a moment of outreach but it was not for the purpose of getting members for Reconciler.
As I push us to think more about outreach, I feel we can begin feel pressure of something in addition to our Bible studies and fellowship as a congregation. Thus another thing we need to add to our busy schedules. Yet, I am hopping that our approach can be more integrated and integral when it comes to outreach. So,I keep coming back to the one Beer Bread and the Bible is not because I think we have to replicate exactly what Jeremy and Charity did in hosting and having it, but it emerged organically from both Jeremy and Charity's desires but also the character of the congregation at the time. It was something people who did not attend Reconciler came to and felt comfortable attending without any push to be part of the congregation. Also the reading of James and then discussing was a Bible study that it allowed people with differing levels of experience with and understanding of the Bible to enter in and come away with something. Lastly it was a time of fellowship for our congregation but also with friends who were either Christian or not Christian. These three things tell me that it wasn't something we added on but something that came from who we were, and we wanted to share it with others, without expectation or strings.
What I feel we can learn from this is that anything we do for outreach first should be something that we want to do and are interested in. Second it should be an opportunity for us as a congregation to connect with each other. Third it needs to be open to others participation even if they never attend Reconciler. If we keep these three things in mind perhaps some of the pressure is off of "creating" an outreach event.
I am thinking that as we plan to gather in September to talk about Christian faith and Baptism as Chrissy and Will prepare to be baptized, and as we (0r I) solidify what we want to study for the fall and as we have potlucks, that we see at least some of these as places to invite our friends and acquaintances as well as times for us to gather as a congregation. This is also how our presence at the Glennwood Arts Festival came about we have had visual artists as members of Reconciler, I am a painter, so it made sense to be there, as our congregations changes and grows perhaps there are other ways we can integrate members talents and involvement with Reconciler's visible presence in the community.