Redemption Church, Bristol PA
Weekly Worship, Meeting God
In September, Redemption switched back to a weekly worship service after six years of meeting in house churches. We loved house churches, but after a careful discernment process, we decided God was calling us into something new. We hope the switch is a way to care better for our kids, open the door for the community of Bristol, and take advantage of the talented teachers, liturgists, and musicians we now have at Redemption. But more than that, we hope the switch is an opportunity to meet God. While house church specializes in intimacy with one another, in discernment, we discovered a deep longing for intimacy with God – a desire to be drawn into something bigger than ourselves. We are still committed to discipleship, to local mission, and to intimate community. But all those things are meaningless without a relationship to the Living God. So we have prayed that God would meet us in worship. And four months in, God has been answering that prayer abundantly! Amen.
Austin Mustard Seed, Austin TX
At Austin Mustard Seed we’ve had a lot to celebrate lately. There have been many changes in our leadership since the summer. Throughout the process, we’ve had a clear sense of God’s presence and feel gratitude for God’s direction and provision. We believe it is gratitude that gives us joy, and we are thankful to experience shared joy as a community this Advent season.
This month we commissioned four leaders in our church. On December 2, April Karli and Daniel Read were commissioned as pastors, and on December 9, Ashley Blackwell and Shane Blackshear were commissioned as lay pastors.
Update From The Crowded House
“Central Florida doesn’t need another worship gathering.”
I remember uttering those words to countless people two years ago when Crystal and I decided to launch The Crowded House Network. We believed those words then and we believe those words now.
Central Florida does not need another worship gathering but The Crowded House Network does. Over the past few years we have grown from a small gathering of young adults on Tuesday nights, to an inter-generational church consisting of three house churches throughout Central Florida. Our dream is that The Crowded House be a spiritual family on mission together. This was easy to accomplish with eight people on a Tuesday night. Living into this way of being the church when we are three house churches spread out across Central Florida is anything but easy.
In order for us to live into the dream of being a spiritual family on mission together, our leadership team has made the decision to lead us into a new kind of gathering to complete all the good that is happening in our house churches.
On the first and third Sundays of every month, we will gather as an entire network to sing songs of praise, offer prayers for one another, proclaim the good news, and partake of the Eucharist. While this will have similar elements to other church worship gatherings, our focus on communal spiritual growth, corporate prayers and participation, and sacramental theology will make this gathering unmistakably The Crowded House.
This is an exciting time for us as a church. We are stepping into something new and unexplored for us. Just as we had the audacious dream to start a network of house churches in a land of traditional churches, we are exploring what is next as we continue to develop as a family on mission together.
The Renew Community, Lansdale PA
Recently, The Renew Community held a “Blue Christmas” Potluck/Gathering
Blue Christmas is a special service to acknowledge that for many people, Christmas is a time of loneliness, sorrow, alienation, sadness. This service offers a way for people to claim those feelings and still feel surrounded by the compassionate love of God. Afterwards, we will share a meal together. If you would like to provide part of this meal, please sign up for an item to bring.
If you want to know more about this, or even how your church can serve the grieving during the holidays, check out this webinar from Missio Alliance with Ecclesia’s own Kate Blackshear (from Austin Mustard Seed)- Download/Watch FREE until Dec 31st.
We encourage all our churches, during difficult or stressful times in their community to remember that they have the resources of a network to draw on. Your Ecclesia staff members (Chris Backert, J.R. Briggs and Bob Hyatt) are ready and available to help you navigate whatever you are facing!