I have some potentially shocking news for you, so perhaps you should sit down.
Ready? Here goes.
Not everyone likes small talk.
Shocking, I know, but true.
Small talk is crafted around the idea that you have a small window of time to engage with someone, usually a stranger, so it’s best to keep the conversation light and shallow. Acceptable topics: Weather (“beautiful day!”), general health (“fine”), observable circumstances (“Look at that cute puppy!”), and common aggravations (“The bus is late again!”). Unacceptable topics: Politics, politics, and politics.
For close friends, small talk is the stuff we use to get to the bigger conversation. “How was your week? Not good? Tell me more about that…”
Each week after the service we serve coffee and snacks with the intention of slowing us down a bit. Connect time keeps us from running for the parking lot and jumping into the next thing in our day. It allows us to linger in the presence of other believers, strengthen friendships, and build into one another.
Unfortunately, we tend to speak with the same group of people each week. They’re the people you came with, you sit with, or you socialize with outside of Sunday morning. Those are the people you have actual conversations with, and for everyone else it is just small talk.
As we have come through the Convictions of Discipleship series and have been made aware of the importance of helping others “take a step to the right”, I wonder if we might better use the minutes after the message to encourage one another and to build one another up to be Christ-learners. Could those first five minutes build into someone, strengthen their faith, challenge their thinking, and deepen their connection to the local church?
On Thanksgiving weekend we gave everyone name tags with coloured stickers, and after the service you were encouraged to talk with someone outside of your normal circle of friends who had the same sticker as you.
Greens greeted the greens, purples parlayed with purples, yellows yelled at yellows (Not really, but there’s not that many ‘y’ words).
Those stickers made it much easier for those who don’t have a close circle of friends to talk with others, and to make some new connections. Plus there was the added benefit of a name tag, so you could try to learn a few names! Sure there was some small talk at first, but it was really fun to overhear some of you go out on a limb and ask about family, holiday traditions, and your favourite pie recipes!
What do we take from this? In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we want to challenge you to spend the first five minutes after each service speaking with someone outside of your usual group of friends. You might find that what begins with small talk can blossom into a disciple-making relationship of helping someone else take a step to the right and grow in their faith as they follow Jesus Christ.
If you need come conversation starters, come and talk to us. We’re putting together some material to help you better engage with others after the message, and we’d love for you to test it out and give us your feedback.
This week, let’s give our first five to God and His mission, and see what He can do as we encourage one another in the faith.
This past Sunday morning, Aaron asked the question, “What is a disciple?” We talked about how a disciple is (spoiler alert) a learner, or a student. As Christ-followers, we are learners (students) of Jesus.
Now I don't know if Aaron intentionally scheduled this message to line up with the Back to School season, but it was a helpful reminder that – no matter how “senior” we are - we are all still learning.
Schools now are realizing that different people learn in different ways, and I have to agree. For instance, I like to learn something in private; I practice it a million times until I've perfected it, and then present it to the public as if it were a natural gifting God has blessed me with.
Which makes learning in community kind of a kick-in-the-teeth for me.
Because the process of learning can be incredibly humbling.
As someone who started attending church in diapers I feel like there isn't much I shouldn't already know.
I've recited all the memory verses, I've sung all the Bible songs, what's left to learn??
(As I write this, Job 38 comes to mind and at any moment I'm sure I will hear God's booming voice putting me in my place)
Of course, the short answer is, there is loads left to learn! God's Word is alive and will continue to speak to us as we grow in Him. And God makes Himself known in many other ways.
One of them being you.
Take a look in the mirror, and know that God is working in you, and He wants to make Himself known through you.
We all have stories of God at work in our lives; times He has given us strength in moments of weakness, patience in periods of uncertainty, and comfort in the midst of deep sorrow. When we come out of these times, and share our experience, we are proclaiming God, we are making Him known!
Praise God that we don’t get through each day on our own strength, but on His!
This week I was reminded of Psalm 9, where David exclaims, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”
As a church – as a body of believers – let’s make Christ known through His saving work in our lives.
“Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.” – Psalm 111:1-3
Jolene Sanders, Director of Worship
Stories shape us. They remind us where we have been, and encourage us for the journey ahead. On May 26th we'll be telling stories and asking some important questions. What is the impact of your faith as you live out your life, and what is the impact of our church on the community around us.
After the service there will be a free BBQ with special guests Forest Cliff Camp. All are invited; mark your calendars and plan to attend. We can't wait to see you!
Each week we post about a range of things from the Christian life, faith and more.
In these posts we hope you'll catch a glimpse of ordinary people who serve an extraordinary God.