Take a moment and think about the best concert you’ve ever been to….
OK, the moment is up.
Now let me ask you this: What were some of the determining factors that led to your conclusion?
For me, after doing this exercise, I came up with the following:
Not only did I highly enjoy the band’s sound, but more so, the message in their songs. I believed in them. Their songs encouraged me to be a better person. They spoke to me at certain, critical moments in my life.
The sense of togetherness and unity with the rest of the crowd regardless of race, social economic background, beliefs about politics, religion, or a myriad of other issues.
The feeling of I’m not the only one in the world who likes this band.
The live, production experience with great sound engineering and lighting effects.
I’m sure there are a few more reasons we could all name, but my guess is these four are somewhat on everybody’s radar. Concerts are powerful reminders to us (sometimes good or bad) about the power and purpose of coming together to experience something and somebody. As discussed in my last blog, at Lifehouse, our mission is to see people experience life change through Christ. And, to see life change, we have laid out five commitments…5 Gs - That if committed to and lived out, will bring life change through Christ.
The first G was Grace. To read about it click HERE.
The second G we are going to look at today is Gatherings. This is defined more plainly for our context as a weekly service where Christians, non-Christians, skeptics, atheist, the spiritually curious, straight, gay, married, single, divorced, have kids, don’t have kids, rich, poor, goodpeople, bad people, old and young can connect into community. To sing songs about Jesus. Hear teaching done in a relevant, Biblical way. Have the opportunity to respond in faith by grace to Jesus. Take communion together that symbolizes Jesus’ sacrifice. And, pray for each other.
I hope this clearly defines the main purposes of our weekly gathering as Lifehouse Newport News.
We believe as we gather together in Jesus’ name, throw out the labels mentioned above, and realize at the foot of the cross of Christ, we are all equal and in desperate need of saving, life change happens.
As people sing to and about the One greater than themselves who loves them, cares for them, and died for them, life change happens.
Who submit themselves to the teaching of Scripture and not just hear it, but apply it to their lives, life change happens.
Who with glad, sincere, and introspective hearts repent and willfully submit their past, present, and future to Jesus and partake of communion as a symbol of the power of His life, death, and resurrection, life change happens.
Who gladly take time to hear each others stories and pray for each others needs, life change happens.
Unfortunately, it’s common today for many Christians to view a weekly gathering unnecessary in their faith journey of following Christ. They view it as a concert and as a result, don’t go - and worse, even criticize those that do. And, I’m not going to get in a theological argument over gather weekly or the method we choose to use to communicate the gospel.
But, like a good concert where the music sounds good, the message has meaning, the people present have one common thread between them despite their myriad of differences, and everybody is reminded they’re not the only people on earth who like this band, a weekly church gathering should do these things and more for everybody who attends.
Gatherings will be important to us. They won’t be our one and only focus, but they will be a focus. We will strive to make sure the music sounds good and the other creative elements are tight. We will preach and teach messages from the Bible that will apply to people’s lives. We will strive to make everybody feel loved and accepted. We want them to know they are not alone, there is a purpose to their pain, and in the end, Jesus wins.