When you think about the church, what picture comes to mind? TMC’ers who attended the TMC Retreat at Secor Metro Park on Sunday October 27, 2013 had opportunity to consider 5 different images that provide partial answers to this question.
As people arrived for the 10:00am start, they were assigned into one of 5 groups, each of which had a New Testament scripture passage that offered an image of what the church is to be like. Each intergenerational group had to create a picture and a song or chant that would represent their text. Much creativity was displayed (and new talents were discovered!) as the groups represented the church as “sojourners”, “shepherd and flock”, “salt, light, and a city”, the “family of God”, and a “new humanity”.
Next the groups worked on an “architectural” contest that Carol Nofziger led the group in designing. With limited resources (string, straws, and marshmallows) each group was asked to build the tallest tower. Much ingenuity and experimentation ensued as each group collaborated to build a tall tower. Everyone experienced good team-building, even if the architectural structures did not always meet expectations.
Joel Shenk led us in worship and Amy Kauffman led us in song as each group was asked to “sculpt” their scriptural representation of the church. Again we had opportunity to see what the church could look like as it seeks to follow Jesus’ words and example.
After a hearty potluck there was opportunity for free time outdoors on a beautiful fall afternoon. Lindar Carter led us in individual reflection time for those who wanted to quietly contemplate God’s presence and power among us.
The day closed with Joel leading us in a discussion and reflection on these images of the church; how we see ourselves fitting into each one and what would we like the church to look like as we move forward together.
For those who were able to be present, we had fun together, we fellowshipped around tables and food, we participated together in team-building exercises, and we considered what the church can look like in real life. We sensed God’s presence with us and left challenged to become fuller expressions of the signs of the Kingdom that Jesus invites us to be. Is that picture of the church becoming clearer for you? Are we presenting a picture of the church to our community and friends and acquaintances that is winsome and inviting?
There was energy and enthusiasm on display at Secor Metro Park on October 27th. Can we build on that energy and enthusiasm? Should we consider having a similar retreat again? Can you picture it?