A New Home for the Summer!
This past Sunday we announced that we are moving locations for the summer. Starting on July 1, we will be meeting at El Tío Tex-Mex Grill! We have loved our time at the GALA Theatre, it is a beautiful venue and the management and staff there have been great to us. However, almost a year into our journey, and as we look forward to the future, we want to find a location that is the right fit for us as a church and that can work as a long-term location. While we search for that facility, we will spend the summer meeting at El Tío and hopefully start meeting on a new facility starting in the fall.
I am really excited about this move and this is why: A few months ago, there was a Sunday when we were not able to meet at the GALA and we ended up meeting at El Tío. It was kind of a last minute change so the service was very stripped down from what we usually do. But there was something about meeting there that felt right. It was an intimate atmosphere and it was very energizing, As we were singing I was able to hear everybody’s voices joining the band, and as I was preaching I was able to look at everybody in the room, it was just a great Sunday.
After that service, several people from the church commented how much they had loved that service, and I was trying to put my finger on what it was that made it feel so special. As I have been thinking about that, the word I keep coming back to over and over is: family. We were all in the same room, close to one another, able to hear what we were saying, able to connect better. In other words, our worship service felt less like a an event, and more like a family gathering. And I am more and more convinced that this is what a worship service should feel like. Eugene Peterson once said:
"I want to be with people who take all of me seriously, not just my soul. I want to know that the nitty-gritty of my life is taken seriously by the gospel, not just the state of my soul. I don't want a religion that consists of soupy verses on Hallmark cards. I don't want a religion of neat little slogans about sunsets and heartthrobs. I want something practical that gets into the working parts of my life, into my wallet and pocketbook, and leaves evidence on my check stubs. And named persons who know my name. People I can serve and who will serve me when I am in need. The gospel of Jesus Christ creates a community in which people take care of one another, respond to others' needs, take people into their homes, give them beds, feed them meals, collect money to meet their needs."
I love that line: “named persons who know my name.” I would also add: “seen people who see my face.” This is what I believe meeting at El Tío will provide us. A much more intimate space that will help us grow closer together as a church family. Now that the opportunity for us to meet there during the summer has presented itself, it feels that God is leading us there. And if God is leading us there, it is for a purpose. I believe God is going to do a new thing among us this summer, and this is the place He has provided to start doing that new thing.
I know summer is a busy time for everybody, people travel a lot, we have so many things to do. But I want to invite you to lean in into what God is going to do at Encounter this summer. Make it a priority to be at church on Sunday, introduce yourself to someone, invite people to lunch after the service, accept invitations to hang out, allow your face to be seen and your name to be known. After all, this is a family gathering, and it wouldn’t be the same without you.