Language creates culture.
That’s one of those leadership principles that has become so widely recognized that no one seems to know who said it first. That’s okay – whoever said it was absolutely right. The language an organization uses isn’t a symptom of an underlying culture. Language is one of the underlying drivers of culture. That’s why Starbucks calls all of their employees “partners”and the University of Virginia calls their campus “grounds”.
It’s also why we call our sunday worship service a weekly gathering at Restoration City. Some people think it’s just trying to be cute, creative or different. But it’s not. It’s a reflection of one of our deepest convictions about church – church is a community you join, not an event you attend. The phrase “worship service” seems both event driven and confusing all at the same time. First of all, no one knows why we traditionally call it a service. Secondly, we’re not really sure who’s being served…us, God, or someone else. But it’s not only ambiguous. It’s also event focused and we try really hard to avoid language that suggests church is an event or an obligation.
So, we say “weekly gathering.” We don’t say worship gathering because we believe that all of life is meant to be an act of worship. Done properly, your commute can be as much an act of worship as the gathering of the church. We say weekly because that’s how often we do it. We say gathering because that’s what it is – all of Restoration City and any one else who wants to join us coming together. We’re every bit as much the church when we’re scattered throughout the city. Sunday mornings simply give us an opportunity to come together to worship in song, hear God speak through His Word and pray together. We gather.
That’s huge for us. It helps us understand Sunday morning properly but even more importantly it helps us understand the rest of the week. Today is an opportunity for worship, you are the church and God has sent you to your work place or wherever you are to live out His calling on your life.
So, I hope you’re on board for a little culture creating with me. It seems small but talking about our weekly gathering would be an important step in creating the culture God is leading us to at Restoration City.
Hopefully, you’ve heard by now that Restoration City is NOT gathering this Sunday, August 16th. We’re taking an intentional day of rest at the start of an intentional week of rest. I’m convinced it’s going to be a great day for all of us – if we use it well. That’s where this post comes in – I want to offer you some really practical thoughts on how you can get the most out of this Sunday.
What NOT To Do
Resist the temptation to use this Sunday for any of the following:
- Getting caught up on work (whether that’s your job, running errands, doing laundry or paying bills). Don’t even think about being productive!
- Visiting another church. I mean that in the least territorial, defensive way possible! But if the goal of Sunday was to participate in corporate worship, we would just meet ourselves.
- Scheduling anything you don’t want to do.
What To Expect
- Earlier this month, I recorded a 10 minute video based on Mark 6:30-44. We’ll post that to this blog early on Sunday morning as a resource to guide your morning. Check it out – it’ll give you a Biblical framework for the day.
- We’ll also post some reflection questions on Sunday morning. They’ll be the kind of questions that lead to some good reflection and journaling.
What To Do
- Block out 9am – 1pm on your calendar this Sunday, roughly the hours you devote to our weekly gathering. Don’t schedule anything.
- Develop a plan. Where do you want to go and what do you want to do during that time? Hike into the woods with your Bible? Lay out by the pool? Read and journal in a coffeeshop? Have brunch with your spouse?
- Here are the questions that should guide your planning:
- Where do you connect most with God?
- How do you ensure you get some time in the Word and prayer?
- Are you more in need of time by yourself or with a good friend?
- What is the one thing you could do this Sunday that would give life to your soul? Remember, this is all about getting time with Jesus.
- If you have kids, figure out how you want to handle them. Maybe get a babysitter? Divide 9-1 into two shifts and each of you get 2 hours to be by yourself and 2 with the kids?
Using Sunday well is going to take a little planning. Remember the goal – to get time with Jesus in a way that pours life into your soul. Don’t waste this gift by sleeping in, doing laundry and answering email. Do the things that give life to your soul!
Can you believe it? Restoration City Church is NOT gathering this Sunday. What kind of a slacker church shuts down for a week? Just to add to the insanity, none of our Community Groups will meet next week either. We’re shutting the whole thing down for seven straight days.
It’s not that we couldn’t find a band. I’m not burning out. We’re not in crisis. In fact, everything’s going just fine. So, what’s this all about?
Simple answer: REST.
The benefits of resting as a church are huge:
- We’re reminded that church is a community you join, not an event you attend. It’s so easy to think about church as a Sunday morning event and a mid-week Community Group. But it’s so much more than that – it’s a family that loves, encourages and cares for one another. We’re still the church, even when we don’t gather.
- Our volunteer teams get a Sunday to recharge. Sunday morning would literally not happen without an incredible team of volunteers who do everything from lead worship, to production, to RCCKids, to connect, to our prayer team. I love the thought of that team having one Sunday this summer when they don’t need to pour out and can create space for God to pour in to them. This is a massive thank you to those who serve all of us week in and week out.
- We’re reminded what a joy it is to be together on a Sunday morning. They say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and in some ways I think that’s true. I love the fact that I will genuinely miss each one of you on Sunday morning. There’s something good about missing one another – it’ll make the reunion on the 23rd that much sweeter.
- This allows us to champion rest in a city that’s terrible at it. Our culture may pay lip service to the idea of taking care of yourself but most of DC is horrible at resting. If you don’t believe me, send a work email at 9PM tonight and see how long it takes to get a reply! Maybe it’ll help to think of it this way – we’re creating space for us to practice resting.
This past year has been incredible in the life of Restoration City and I honestly believe we’re going to see God do some amazing things in this city over the fall. Let’s take a week to look back at all He’s done and prepare ourselves for all He’s going to do.
Tomorrow, I’ll post some very specific things you can do to get the most out of this coming Sunday morning.