Community Guide for the Week of Sept 27, 2020
Vision Series Part 1: Fall 2020 Community Rhythm
The Community Guide below is based on the Sunday morning teaching from our Annual Vision Series and will help Communities establish a Fall rhythm. As your whole Community gathers (online or socially distanced), use the Community Guide below to give shape to your night together.
Begin by Practicing the Lord’s Supper Together (5 minutes)
Begin your night together by partaking of the bread and the cup together. Have each person bring their own Communion elements. To facilitate your time, you can either ask a member of your Community to come ready with a short prayer, liturgy, or scripture reading, or assign someone to read the prayer we’ve provided below:
Jesus, we remember your covenant to us,
and our covenant to you.
We put away sin. We put away division.
We put away injustice. We put away excess.
We put away anything that holds us back from you.
And instead we put on your life,
your yoke, and your way.
We renew our covenant to you,
trusting that as we lose our lives we will find them. Amen.
Scripture Reading (5 Minutes)
Assign one (or multiple) readers to read James 1:1-4 aloud for your Community. After reading, spend 30–60 seconds in silence.
Debrief Sunday’s Teaching (15 Minutes)
Work through the following discussion question as a Community:
- What stood out to you about Sunday’s teaching? What does it look like for you to “endure” in this season?
Read or share this overview with your Community before working through the discussion questions (10 Minutes)
In our Phase 1 Guide, we encouraged Bridgetown Communities to take advantage of nice weather and meet outdoors, in-person as people feel comfortable. Now that Summer is coming to a close, the question arises: What should Communities do when fall hits and the weather is not great? or How does our Community move forward when meeting outside is no longer a great option?
What we want to propose to you is a suggestion—and it’s just that, a suggestion—on how to move forward. We’re hoping to provide a framework that could help your Community navigate from now until December, with the possibility of change in the new year. If COVID-19 cases decline and things move back to normal quicker than that, great. But our hope is that if things don’t change, at least you’ll have some clarity for the fall season. Our goal is to help you keep your Community unified and connected in the fall season.
Okay, with all that in mind, we are suggesting that, beginning October 1, all of our Communities adopt the following two week rotation:
Week 1: Meeting all together virtually (via Zoom or Google Hangouts), working through Community Guides
Week 2: Meeting in person in Triads, practicing the Lord’s Supper, Confession, and Spiritual Direction
Week 1 we’re suggesting that Communities meet all together Virtually (via Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, etc.). There will not be any Practices during this time, so we’ll provide a basic online Community Guide each week. The guide will focus on a few basic rhythms, including:
- the Lord’s Supper (5 mins)
- an emotional health & life check in (15 mins)
- Scripture reading (5–7 mins)
- prayer (20 mins)
- and a short, on-your-own Practice (5 mins)
Week 2 we’re suggesting that Communities split up into Triads (same-gender groups of 3–4) to meet indoors and in person. The reason we recommend adopting Triads in this season is that it makes meeting in person more feasible, thus alleviating some of the Zoom-fatigue many are feeling. Further, because many of us are far more comfortable sharing intimate information in a group of 3–4, we believe that Triads have a unique potential to support individual formation in this season. Your Community’s Triads can be consistent or rotating, depending on the makeup of your Community and what best suits everyone’s needs.
In our Triads we will focus on the Lord’s Supper, Confession, and Spiritual direction—a two-page guide entitled “Confession & Spiritual Direction” is available to you at Bridgetown.Church/Triads, which you’re welcome to check out at any time. You can watch a short video on these two disciplines from our Communities Team below:
This rhythm is not permanent, but is a suggestion for the next 12 weeks. You are free to edit and adapt this rhythm as a Community along the way, or to set a date 4–6 weeks from now to re-evaluate. We’re asking Community Leaders to take into consideration the discussion your Community has regarding your own fall rhythm and to present their recommendation for your individual Community next week.
Final Considerations before discussing:
- This suggested rhythm is a way of mediating between multiple perspectives on COVID, allowing room for in-person and virtual gatherings. It’s unlikely that every member of your Community will love whatever your group decides on, and that’s okay.
- Again this is just a suggestion for the fall. It’s not permanent, and it may change along the way.
- Throughout the fall we are opening our building as a potential meeting space. We’ll have at least a few rooms where your Community can sign up to meet in person, socially distanced in a larger space than most of us have in our homes.
- When the weather is nice, we would still recommend that your Community meets all together, outdoors to work through the Community Guide in person.
- As we have said before, the goal is to keep your Community unified and connected to one another. This may look like sacrificing your own preference and going out of your way to “honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12v10).
Work through these discussion questions as a Community (30 Minutes)
- How do you feel about the suggested fall rhythm? Is there anything you are curious about or any changes we might want to make to that rhythm?
- With regard to your Community’s own fall rhythm, take a minute on your own to fill in your answers to the following prompts:
- I am willing to…
- I am not willing to…
- I prefer that…
Then, take a moment to share your answers together, allowing each person to share.
Read through how to prepare for the next time you come together (5 minutes)
As a member of the Community, spend the week seeking God’s Spirit on how you can be open to him and to other members of your Community, remaining flexible and laying aside your own preferences for the sake of the Community. In addition, take the week to assess your readiness to recommit to your Community for the fall season. As you pray and process, utilize the simplified fall commitments below as your guide:
Practicing The Way of Jesus
Daily Apprenticeship to Jesus
- Working toward the basic practices of Jesus: bible reading, prayer, silence and solitude, sabbath, church gatherings, Community, and generosity.
- Living under the authority of the Scriptures and the Bridgetown Elders.
- Regular attendance unless you’re out of town, sick, or there is an unforeseen, unavoidable circumstance outside of your control.
- 24 hours notice for any absence via phone call, not a text, to the Community Leader.
- Active participation, like engaging the Practices and putting your phone away.
- Practice regular connection outside of your normal Community night
- When necessary, help each other with resources and finances.
- Show each other courtesies, like always returning text messages.
Monthly Kingdom Expression
- Common or Individual
As a Leader of the Community, spend the week seeking God’s Spirit and asking for wisdom. Having heard and made note of your Community’s desires and preferences, spend the week coming up with a suggested rhythm for your unique Community, to be discussed further next week. This could be simply adopting the rhythm we suggested, or making some changes to that rhythm per your discussion with your Community. Whatever it is, make it your goal to have a clear recommendation for your Community prior to coming together again. If you’re in doubt, give your coach a call.