The Celebration – Our Framily by Andy Knopfmeier
Sometimes I feel like building church community is like a speed dating event. You have 30 seconds to turn around say hellos, shake hands or give a high 5, introduce yourself, tell your life story so they understand how and who and why you are, exchange contact information, and POOF! the stars align and you instantly feel loved, understood, cared for, and included. Or not, well at least not me. Too many of us have experienced this type of quasi-community building, even within the good intentions of Sunday morning church programs.
The leadership of Blackbird Mission understands that community takes time, building into each others' lives takes time, intentionally caring for what Jesus cared about takes time. So, Blackbird's leaders submitted to the idea to give the Celebration attendees the first 30 minutes to chat, meet new people, pray, tell funny stories, or whatever the Holy Spirit wanted to do. From my perspective, the master of ceremonies during Blackbird Mission's second-ever Celebration event, you can imagine what it felt like when 250 of your closest friends, acquaintances, and strangers didn't listen to my amplified pleas from the stage to congregate after the 30 minutes was over. I was on a schedule you know! Or, quite possibly, maybe they weren't supposed to listen to me. Maybe they were desiring something more than just a predetermined large group date called "The Celebration." After a quick glance at the Pub Pastor, Daron Earlewine, he made a motion to just let it flow. So I did until Aaron Pelsue Band were anxious to get their worship on.
Daron delivered his enlightening homily and I learned 3 quick lessons: (1.) People are longing for community, (2.) a true community is always on mission, and (3.) communities aren't perfect.
Exhibit A: Fountain Square is located in the once dilapidated section of Indianapolis' I-65/I-70 south split. This area has been transformed into a municipal district any quasi-hipster can love. Fountain Square didn't evolve itself, and its makeover hasn't been perfect. But Fountain Square is a culture defined by a community who is on mission. And if you haven't made the trek to the I-65/I-70 south split, then put it on your 2015 Indy experience list and tell Thunderbird that Pub Theology sent you.
Similarly, those who follow Jesus also have a quirky descriptive label like 'Fountain Square' to brand their community. It's called "oikos", which is the Christianese word for household, but includes extended family & friends. Sprint valiantly tried to capture and market this concept. They called it "Framily." The Pub Pastor Daron described the simple framily mission of Jesus as "…a canvas for His redemptive story. He wants to use family to show what it means to have authentic, everyday faith in a God who redeems and restores broken people." Blackbird Mission is one such oikos or family.
Lastly, something in me struck a chord when Daron said, "God is not trying to paint a picture of an ideal family." Think about God's use of mankind…Noah had what someone might call "a drinking problem", Abraham told his wife to have sex with another guy, Rebekah schemed with her son to deceive her husband Isaac, Jacob's sons thought it would be a great idea to sons sell their brother into slavery, and then David had an affair, killed the woman's husband and his son started a rebellion! Are you kidding? These were the people God used in telling the story of Jesus? This was Jesus' "framily"? And you thought your family was a hot mess…well, maybe it is, but you get the point. God uses us, the good, the ugly and the broken to bring heaven to earth. We do this together in a great big shared or co-mission so to speak.
Jesus came from a perfect/Holy family, to an earthly/broken family to create a redeemed family. God will use you IF…no, WHEN you ask Him. The broken leaders of Blackbird Mission and Pub Theology are on mission to awaken, equip and empower people to follow Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit…and not in a speed dating kind of way. Will you join the mission?
Huddles are a group of 4-10 people learning how to be disciples of Jesus and make disciples of Jesus. A missional community is a larger group of people who serve each other and are on mission to share Jesus' message of faith, hope, and love. For more information about how to join a huddle or missional community, email email@example.com.