Yesterday I wrote about our desire to have the church plant in Dublin be neighborhood based. I wanted to follow up with a couple of thoughts over the next few days about why I think this matters.
When we first started the Ithaca Vineyard, we had meals together every Sunday. Every other week people brought food…on the other two weeks, we’d order food & everyone would chip in a few bucks. We did this for about the first 4 years of our church. We gave it up because the new facility we were moving into didn’t allow us the time to have a meal. In hindsight I wish we would have kept looking for a place so we could have kept that. While the new facility & the ones after it allowed us to grow more quickly, we lost something in the exchange.
And it isn’t just that I love food…but I think there is something very important about the church eating together regularly. There is a spiritual as well as a relational component to it. (I’m excited that the Ithaca Vineyard has begun doing that more and more lately, and that the Dublin Vineyard eats together in the park every Sunday.)
My hope is that if people live in the same general area, eating together would be a more natural occurrence. And not just on Sunday, but during the week as well. (Yesterday I mentioned about the distance people live from the Ithaca Vineyard’s building…being able to have people from Cortland and Trumansburg get together during the week…with work & school…is a major challenge.)
And if we aren’t eating together on a regular basis, I think that adds an extra level of difficulty in helping those new to the church to get incorporated. (Actually, when we were leading campus ministries, our meals where often the times where people would bring their friends who didn’t know about Jesus and we saw so many of them get connected that way.
So that’s one of the reasons I’m liking the neighborhood based model more and more. What do you think?
Speaking of getting to Ireland, we are still trying to raise $2,000 more in monthly support, to help us reach our goal of $6000/month. If you would consider making a monthly contribution, please visit our online giving site, or contact me.