Scott Hodge


Journey Leading – Part 2

Jul 7, 2008

Part 1 Here.

Every person in our church community is at a different place in their spiritual journey.

For us at The Orchard, we are continually finding ways to infuse this awareness in with how we communicate and teach people in our large, weekend gatherings.  For example, we are intentional about….

1.  Recognizing and acknowledging it!

There are a LOT of ways to do this, but we are intentional about doing this during our welcome time at every weekend gathering.  Usually, it sounds something like this:

“Our mission here at The Orchard is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.  And what that simply means is that no matter where you might be at in your spiritual journey, first of all – we’re glad you’re here.  But secondly, our hope is that we can help you take your next step forward on that journey.” 

Quite often, I’ll say things like this during my talks:

“One of the things that I love about The Orchard is our diversity!  If you’ve been around our community for any length of time, you’ll notice that we are diverse in so many ways – ethnically, in age, and of course, spiritually.  Which is why we work so hard at being the kind of community that you can be a part of, regardless of where you’re at in your spiritual journey….to learn more and experience this way of life called ‘following Jesus.’ 

2.  Helping people locate where they’re at in their journey.

Often times, I’ll wrap up my talks by having a few moments of reflection where I’ll ask the question, “Where are you at right now in your spiritual journey?  And what does your next step look like?

To help people think through this, I will often times say things like:

“For some of you, you are very new to this journey and it’s just a HUGE deal that you are even sitting in church today…. Perhaps for you……your next step is making the decision to come back again next week.”

“For others of you, you’ve been learning more and more about the ways of Jesus…’re pretty well convinced that following Him is the best way to live your life……and so for you, your next step is to reach out to him to solidify that desire….”

“Perhaps you’ve been following Jesus for a while now – maybe even for years….  Maybe your next step is a matter of taking that step of faith in your life that God has been leading you towards…..”

You get the idea, right?  And of course, there are not just three “categories” – these are just three examples.  Really, it’s just a matter of us being sensitive at each gathering to however God might be working in people’s lives.

On a side note, I think it’s important that we don’t forget that God is at work in people’s lives LONG before they step foot into our doors.  For some reason, there is this crazy idea out there that says, “As soon as we get them IN….then God will start doing something great.”  What the heck!?  Why do we think that God only resides in our buildings and services?!  No way. 

God is so much greater than that.  And He is at work in people and places everywhere. 

(I’m reminded of walking through the rampant sex-trade districts of Bangkok during a visit last year, yet feeling God’s presence and work happening around me in a very strong way.) 

Part 3 tomorrow…

5 Responses to “Journey Leading – Part 2”

  1. Nicely done.
    Also for whoever might be interested, learn how to become Christ-Like in 3 easy steps.
    Grace and Peace,
    Raffi Shahinian
    Parables of a Prodigal World

  2. I LOVE how you said “What the heck!? Why do we think that God only resides in our buildings and services?! No way.”
    I personally think it’s because we tend to like be in a comfort zone where we control all the factors instead getting into the nitty gritty of the tough scenarios that everyday life (outside of church) throws at us.

  3. Erika Bock says:

    Your commentary on what you would say at The Orchard makes me want to be there all of the time! Only 4 more weeks til I’ll get to visit!

  4. Joni says:

    Those 2 points are huge. Many people who are find church foreign, automatically think they are on the outside looking in–even if they don’t verbalize it or consciously think it. Acknowledging that we are all in different places goes very far in alleviating some stress. re Point #2–helping people put words to what they’re feeling is a stabilizing factor in their journey. Its harder to move forward if you’re not sure where you are.

  5. Lisa says:

    I think the other thing the Orchard team does well is to state outright that regardless of where we are in our journey, we are safe there. I think the first month we attended I heard it in every service. It means a lot to those of us who haven’t felt safe before.

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