A revolutionary gathering
Last night the cell leaders gathered at our location in North Philly to be the team. They are drawn together from across the region—many neighborhoods, many backgrounds, many (2) states.
In a world as divided and lonely as ours the work of our cell leaders is revolutionary. A cell is a circle of about ten people who gather together weekly to grow into who they were meant to be and be healed from what they have been. Participation in mutual relationships of love and truth make this happen. With Jesus on the team we can say this with confidence.
So many opportunities resist isolation!
There are so many opportunities to be on the team in Circle of Hope. Every cell is a team with a goal and a purpose: to include the next person in their loving relationships in Christ. Every cell is part of a congregation that has its own unique flavor and sphere of influence. The cell leaders work together to lead the congregation. It’s not just the pastor’s job to pray, take care of people and organize us for works of compassion. We share that responsibility and do it together. As a pastor, I am sometimes tempted to “get stuff done” right away (I’m pretty impulsive like that), but my real assignment is to mobilize the cell leaders and other leaders in the church to get stuff done together. That means I may have to take another step before i do it on may own!
Our culture pushes us toward isolation. We’ve been pounded into the capitalist peg-holes for long enough that we think we need to earn our keep, to be self-reliant, to maintain a personal brand that is always on fleek. The cell leaders choose to resist these demands and create a mutuality system.
It takes a lot of tending and communicating. It takes opening your laptop after a barrage of emails at work in order to check in with the Circle of Hope Team. It takes calling people back when they missed your text. It takes showing up on a muggy Monday night in July (which a bunch did last night). It takes keeping the lines of communication open with Jesus, the Team Leader. It takes believing that you own the business, because that’s how churches work (at least when they are working well).
We’re all in this together and we are forming a viable alternative to the violence and hatred of this world. I sent this YouTube video to friends of our church this month. It’s appropriate in July because it has sparklers. It might be too cute, but it gets me excited about how bright we might burn together.
Creating a map together helps
One way we were all in it together recently is by creating a map of what we think God wants us to be and do together—specific stuff that we are committing to. The cell leaders spent a significant part of their time owning the 2016 Map the other night—that is, taking the ideas in it and owning them—playing around with them and dreaming how we might actually accomplish them. Some of my favorite ideas were:
- a free car wash (just cuz)
- singer-songwriter night to open up space for creatives and making new connections
- a real estate investment consortium that rents just enough to make a profit slightly better than a savings account in order to provide affordable housing
- an alternative to corporate banking
- more conversation about how technology is consuming us and how we can take control of it better
- sharing our money from our mutuality fund more liberally as a way to loosen up our personal generosity
- starting a public woodworking shop
- and a lot more prayer.
Want to help us do it? Join a team!