We have finally come to the end of our One Word series with part 12! That’s right, we have been rocking this series for quite a while now. But just like all things, it must come to an end. Pastor Chris finishes our final part with the word: ADVENTURE. It is defined as, noun: an exciting or remarkable experience; a risky undertaking; quest. Adventure is an exciting word most of the time.
When someone tells their story of adventure, it usually involved elements of surprise and danger but end well. If it doesn’t, we call it something else, like a disaster or a tragedy. But the story of Jesus’ adventure from heaven to earth and back has a better ending for us than any we could even imagine. The word adventure originates from the Latin adventíre, which means “to come toward, to arrive.” And if we shorten adventure, we end up with another exciting word: Advent. Advent is the season of expectation leading up to Christmas, the glorious day that we celebrate the arrival of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul talks about this words adventure in his first letter to the church in Corinth. He says, “God, who got us started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.” (1 Corinthians 1:9) God came toward us that day. He came to us! And He’s determined to bring us back with Him — to freedom, to healing, to redemption. He took a huge risk to come and get us, and he will never give up on his children. He will not leave us behind!
We are embarking on an adventure ourselves as The River Church. The reminder pf this year is going to filled with twists and turns. Unexpected surprises and blessings in ways that we have never experienced before. The church that we all loved may never be the same again. The world that existed just 6 months ago is no longer. Will it come back? I hope so! But we just do not know and are not promised that will happen. We are on an adventure of a lifetime! We living history right now, what a time to be alive!
As a church are going to be experimenting. Trying different gatherings, church community and discipleship. The reality is that we most likely will be doing our main church worship service online for the remainder of the year. However, we are working toward having smaller in-person gatherings in addition to Sunday morning livestream. Again, twists and turns with fluidity — Adventure!
If we are not going to be able to gather together in person for Sunday community worship, then we are going to do everything that we can to create opportunities to gather in smaller groups in person. The church is communal, the church is essential, the church is a face-to-face relational movement. There has been “online church” technology for the past 10-ish years. However, time and time again churches with the best equipment, cameras, gifted speakers, great interaction have always missed something. The Church has worked tirelessly to re-create the in-person worship experience online, but have constantly come-up short, why? In person relationships.
We understand this is missing, and this needs to change. We also understand that some of you watching and in our family are not yet comfortable to meet in person. This is 100% fine, we absolutely respect this. For some of you this is for health reasons, for personal stances, for your work, etc. There is no expectation for you to be present at these in-person gatherings. This is why we are going to continue online services. But for those who are ready and open to meeting, we are hearing you and moving to implement small gatherings. Again, all part of the adventure! Are you willing to come along with us at whatever level you are comfortable?
I 100% believe that our world and communities are hurting and have been worse off these past 6 months because church in person has been shut-down. There is a reason that God created the Church. To gather believers together in community in person to learn, grow, encourage, strengthen and care for one another. Online just doesn’t fully replicate the in-person experience. We were created as relational beings. It’s the “secret sauce.”
And God loves us so much. He knew that we were going to need community to walk this life toward Christ everyday. So he created communities of believers so that we would not go it alone. And God invites us to share in the life of Jesus. With the “secret sauce” of in-person community. This spiritual adventure God offers us will be everything we are hoping for and more. No matter how many twists and turns, disappointments or dangers we encounter. We can be sure that He will bring us safely home.
I am excited for what the remainder of 2020 has for TRC! Something exciting is going to happen. But we all have to line up our hearts, our minds and our plans with God’s. This is part of that adventure! But the question now is, “Are you committed to the adventure?” and “Are you going to stay committed?” God is not going to let you live a boring life. He has crazy fun and huge surprises and unimaginable growth in mind for you! But are you going to rise to the occasion? Not everyone in our church will. Therefore, we ALL have to be committed!
So what is your role in the adventure? This is not a spectator sport or watch the Pastor do it church. You have a role to fulfill in this adventure. What is it? If you don’t know, it’s time to start praying and asking God has we wants you to do. It’s time to step-up and live out what we believe rather than just check-the-box of church on a video screen once a week. If you know what it is, why aren’t you doing it? Why are you living in disobedience? God has called you to live out your faith in and outside of the church. What do you need to do this week to get in obedience with Christ?
On this adventure, you will be challenged, face uncertain moments, possibly scared from time to time, and along the journey be amazed at what Christ is doing! Don’t be afraid; this is great news! This is the GOSPEL! Your adventure with Jesus will be worth the risk! But are you committed to the adventure?