This past September I began a conversation revolved around the James Bryan Smith book, The Good and Beautiful Community. I chose this particular book because it had something to add to the theme of our year; Resonate. My first full year at UCC I began preaching surrounding a theme for an entire year. It has expanded where our activities and Bible studies are centered around our theme. The theme this year has to do with how we interact with one another and love one another. How we resonate together. Smith’s book has everything to say about how we resonate with one another as a community of faith.
In preparation for each class I read the chapter for that week and use his ideas and our specific character as a church to have real and honest discussions. We just finished the sixth of 9 chapters and it was such a great conversation. It is my aim every Wednesday night to share scripture, bring in some insights, and ask difficult questions that are specific to who we are as a church. Sometimes the questions are really tough and challenge us. Every week though, you cannot help but know that the Spirit of God was in that place.
I’ve been at several churches as staff, intern, or member and this seems to me to be the most productive Wednesday night church in which I have participated. It is not perfect and there are still only about 20-25% of our Sunday attendance who come on Wednesday evenings, however, it is a fulfilling time for me and I believe for those who attend. I’m thankful for writers like James Bryan Smith who use their words on paper to challenge the masses to look more like Christ. His work in this book has been challenging and encouraging at the same time.
And while Wednesday Evening Church is a blessing, I’ll enjoy the moment.