This is an entry into Rick’s call for a Missional Syncroblog
After leaving our “church” last year and experiencing the loneliness that comes with that and at the same time understanding that the whole plan of “come to our church” was really not missional, I found myself stuck. What did it mean to reach out to people? How do you meet those pre-Christians if they are not going to come into your building (especially if you are not in the building) How do you make disciples? Heck, how do you even make friends with someone if you don’t go to meetings with them?
It was through another blogger who I have begun reading who said something that made me realize what I needed to find in my life to be truly missional. This was not the point of her post but it has stayed in my head as a missional idea since I read it. Jennifer at Et tu? wrote this in her post of Mommyblogging and the Water Well, (and again expanded on it here)
“I remember back in those anthropology classes, I noticed that a common community setup was that there would be a central area where people, especially women, would gather as part of their daily work, e.g. a tribe might have one community fire pit for cooking, or there would be one spot on the river where the women would all gather to do the washing. In particular, one visual that stuck with me was that of the village water well: in some long-forgotten textbook I read the description of a tribal village that had one central well where the women would go to get the family's water. There was some sort of central oven nearby, and this area, of course, became a bustling hub of social activity.”
The need for wells has totally gone away with the convenience of running water. (For that...make no mistake.... I am grateful.) But the necessity for the social needs that wells provided has not suddenly disappeared with technology and as I read that post I longed for the old time central village water well. This was a place where you had to be a few times during the day where you would regularly meet some of the same people, chat about your day, find out the news of the village, keep tabs on those around you, let your children play for a bit while you talked, asking advice from those who had experienced something that you were going through, giving advice to those younger. This was a normal place. A place of community. Some place that you could do Matthew 28:19, “As you are going….make disciples” kind of place. You did not have to plan it, program it into your schedule. There was no “play date” to schedule, no ‘inviting over for coffee” needed, no dinner plans demanded. It was just a part of your day.
I think that “being missional” is, in part, finding those wells that still exist in our lives today. I need to find a well or wells around my city. Places where people naturally gather to do business or take care of their children or play. A place to meet people on a regular basis where friendships can develop. A place to hear others talk about their lives. A place to share my life with them. An “as you are going” kind of place.
Best Friend uses her workplace as one of those wells. She works as a nurse and has formed a community that loves and cares for each other from those she has met and worked with. It truly functions as a "well" and has been very “missional” for her. At this point I run my own business from my home and so a "workplace well” is not one that I can take advantage of.
As I walk out of the institutional church and into Grace I would like to find those naturally occurring “wells” where people meet. I can think of a few to explore and be involved in. Boy Scouts – we are just now getting our sons involved. A gym (maybe… as the ones I have been involved in were not very social) A bar. School groups – PTA and such.
Mostly I am stumped. Can you add to my list? Where have you found modern day “wells?” I’ll update this post if any of you leave an idea.
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Update: Jennifer (I mentioned her post above) just published a post this weekend on how some children that have been coming over to her house to hang out are forming a community - a well of sorts - that Father is doing all by himself. This is totally what I am talking of and I love how it was planned and orchestrated directly by Father. Please read here (This Is How You Build a Community) and then read the back story to how these girls got involved in Jennifer's life.
(So far there are at least 50 bloggers taking part in this syncroblog. You can find them here:
Cobus Van Wyngaard