RiverLife Weekly #25: The Church Gathered and Scattered
Some of you might remember that I spoke about the church gathered and the church scattered on Vision Sunday back in January. Both modes are critical for disciple making. The early church gathered in the temple courts and scattered house to house.
We gather for worship. The acts of worship (Acts 2:42-47) shape us, even as we experience God’s presence together. This is not just what Christians do. This is who Christians are. The gathered church is the first expression of church.
The church scattered from house to house (Acts 5:42). This expression of church subsequently gave inspiration and impetus to cell groups. The church scattered is made up of individuals and groups who connect in homes, offices and other spaces to love God, share life together, and reach others with the good news.
During this pandemic we have been ungathered and totally scattered. This pandemic has helped me realise that I have taken the importance of the gathered church and the importance of cell groups and disciple making (scattered) for granted. I am grateful for the ways that technology has allowed us to remain connected. But I miss fellow RiverLifers and I miss in-person cell group, corporate worship and missional opportunities.
For 4 months, it was fully digital ministry. But church is a community; it is not a screen. We are not being who we are if we don’t gather to worship and scatter to serve. And we need human interaction. Gathering in-person meets social, emotional and spiritual needs.
Since Phase 2 of post-Circuit Breaker measures, we started limited onsite activities at the church premises while continuing digital worship and ministry. We have distributed essential goods for the needy and vulnerable as part of RiverLife Cares. We just conducted 3 rounds of water baptism. Several cell groups have begun in-person meetings in fives while most groups still meet online.
I hope that we can resume in-person cell groups very soon. We will need to work out the logistics to ensure safe-distancing and manage the combined attendance. One option is for groups to meet outdoors. In any case, we should prepare to connect in person as a cell community very soon.
In the meantime, continue being the church scattered, focusing on the cell group and disciple making.
Pastor Ben KC Lee