The aim of any healthy church is to foster community depth in order to live out the full expression of what God designed the church to be. Besides our general tendency to just be lazy there are many things working against the goal of becoming a tight church community.
People are busy. Because the economy isn't great families are required to work more to make ends meet. Social media, smartphones, tv and video games have caused social isolation. In Providence the church community is transient. People are always coming and going, which makes relationship building more challenging. Because many Christians are not doing well spiritually their appetite for fellowship is small. At Ren we have a special challenge of having such wide diversity that we can't rely on common cultural interests or background to glue us together. In today's society people work first, second, third or swing shifts. Schedules are greatly varied which make it challenging to find times to meet that work for everyone. We could keep going.
The point is that being a deep community is not easy and requires effort. The following is a thorough listing of all the various opportunities at Ren to help you grow in your relationship with God and one another. Take some time to prayerfully read through it and determine what works best for you in this new year.
Pastor Scott Axtmann
THE ANVIL MEN'S GROUP
It's on our hearts to gather men who are serious about spiritual growth twice a month on Thursday evenings (2nd and 4th Thursdays) 7:30-9pm for the purpose of serious discipleship. It will run for 10 months February-November (20 sessions). We are calling this group “Anvil” which is something that metal is placed on to be banged into shape. In the same way God will place men into this group to shape and form them into the image of Christ. This is open to any men who regularly attend the church whether new Christian or experienced leader.
The group will involve deep discipleship in becoming a greater man of God in virtually every aspect of life. We will talk about relationships, work, integrity, responsibility, reliability, spiritual disciplines, meekness, moral backbone, leadership and many other practical life issues. We will read several books together throughout our time together. Books will be provided by the church.
WOMEN'S BIBLE STUDY
The women's bible study is a time of fellowship and discussion of the Word on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday nights of the month at REN from 6:30-8:30pm. Children is provided. Contact Linda Waugh (email@example.com) for more info.
There is also a Wednesday morning bible study at 9:30am at REN beginning 9/6. Childcare is provided. Contact Lora Wills (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more info.
Those who are young couples at Ren are encouraged to be part of the young adult Anchored community as much as possible. Though there are mostly singles within the young adult community the married couples bring a nice aspect to the mix. But in addition, there is a gathering once a month on the second Tuesdays at 7:00pm at Ren. It's a time of life sharing and teaching on various elements that make relationships strong. This group is designed for serious dating couples, engaged couples and newlyweds but is really open to any couples in the church who need strengthening. Make note however that there is no childcare available for these gatherings. Damien and Becky Plante lead this ministry and you can contact them for more details at email@example.com.
Over the last year we have continued to experience an increase in the number of families in the church to the point of having nearly 100 children in our midst. Trying to gather all the families together for special events has become quite difficult to do at the church space. The loose idea for 2017 and 2018 is to plan some gatherings outside at parks, beaches and other fun places. Also, we will be working to pull together 2-3 families at a time for dinner parties on a regular basis. If you have a family we strongly encourage you to invite another family over for a meal or to do something fun. While we are going to organize some structured opportunities it is becoming evident that the best way for families to get to know one another is through more organic get togethers. So take initiative!
In the new year we want to continue to foster relationships in the over 40 circle. We've tried a variety of different gatherings in different locations and they all have had their pros and cons. The dinner parties at homes were perhaps the most fruitful so we'd like to continue those as much as possible. To create some degree of consistency we are aiming to gather on a Sunday evening of each month from 5-8pm. We can continue doing potlucks and have the gatherings at a different house each month.