At some point between the idea of planting ReCAST and the actual first church service in that basement over 13 years ago, I attended a conference called Sticky Church. Another church planter had an extra ticket and I was available that day, so I went along. The gist of the conference was well intentioned, if not a little lacking in motivation. The generalized proverbial wisdom dispensed at that event went something like this, “So much effort, energy, and resources are spent by churches trying to get people in the doors. Meanwhile, many people are leaking out the wide open back door. We should spend more time figuring out what makes people stay.” The logic seems to be good. And throughout the day-conference it was made clear that the speakers believed that connecting people in real relationships is the glue that holds people together in a church.
I would agree to a large degree. Coffee, good donuts, super sweet worship, or engaging preaching are good things, and obviously not equal in importance. But God gathers people together in COMMUNITY. There is a reason we eat those donuts together. There is a reason we sing the songs together. There is a reason we listen to the preaching together. It is because Jesus Christ left instructions to gather. He did not leave isolated individuals each expressing the faith alone. He established local gatherings who would worship, serve, and reach out in His name. We are the people of love. We are the people of unity. We are the people of hope. We are the community of Jesus.
To be honest, the conference felt a little bit mercenary and manipulative. If we start with the question, “What can we do to keep people in the church?” The answers are a hair’s breadth away from manipulative formulas.
But I do think a better question is, “What can we do to foster opportunities for genuine love and unity to be expressed among us?” At ReCAST we have a growth map that defines maturity in the Christian life as growing in faith, growing in community, and growing in service. And we are seeking to really make a beach landing, this Fall, on the shores of the pandemic.
What I mean by that metaphor, is that the pandemic produced a very fearful isolation throughout our community. Most of us have come out of this past couple of years with more self-centeredness, more independence, and even less value on community in general. We would like to kick back against this by a new push out into community groups this Fall. We are offering more communities groups than we have ever offered in our church history.
It is my hope as the pastor of ReCAST Church, that everyone who calls ReCAST their church home will give a community group a try this Fall. Sign-ups will be starting in the next couple of weeks. And I hope to see everyone joining a group and forging new relationships at ReCAST.
And to be clear, my motivation and enthusiasm for this is not to entrap people in a “sticky church” like a fly caught on a piece of sticky tape hung from the garage rafters. My hope is that we become increasingly, more and more what Jesus wants his church to look like. He desires us to be a community of faith, love, unity, encouragement, and service to one another. I hope for more and more of that in the coming year!
If ReCAST Church is your home church, then please plan to sign up for a community group this Fall. Maybe join a group intentionally with people you don’t know – yet. Take a risk! I bet you won’t be disappointed. Community is not a secondary option. Community is what the gathering of the church is all about.