agenda free [community]
-ryan james ross
High pressure sales turn away just as many people from church as they do at the used car lot. We weren’t meant to pawn God like a gently used sedan and push to ‘close the deal’ before the conversation ends. That’s an agenda.
Have you ever had that experience where a book, a conversation, and then later maybe a podcast, and then even later in the week, a verse or a sermon that all end up repeating the same thing to you? It’s like the universe has conspired to give you a message through disconnected sources. God often whispers to us that way. And in the last week or so, we at U[g] have been hearing ‘agenda-free community’ a lot.
What is it to gather with others and to share life and love without agenda?
It means we talk less and listen more. It means we share stories, and we laugh and we cry together. It means we love and connect and do life together without condition. Everyone is recognized as God’s masterpiece on a wild journey through life. We love others without demanding anything in return.
This is the table that Jesus sets over and over in the scriptures: the place of continual restoration, enduring communion, and unending fellowship. No one earns a spot there, and no one fails and finds themselves with their chair removed.
“When we who claim faith come to people without any agenda other than to receive people as they are and to love them as they desire to be loved, they rest in the safety of that, and they begin to be transformed without any prodding from us.” – John Pavlovitz in A Bigger Table
The Spirit of God transforms people, not our witty words (no matter how witty we be).
“When God’s people go out without agenda we are open to see people as people, rather than as objects of ministry and to see the ways God might already be at work in their lives… In order to be open to what God reveals, we need to drop our agendas.” – Markus Watson at Flourish San Diego
So let’s dive into some agenda-free Uncommon [community]!
We are designing a party — a table to be around and some bread to break and some music to move to. Check it out…
So… we’ve had some interesting experiences while planning this party…
A couple weeks ago we spent some time with someone from the city of Poway, we will call her Patricia. It was a funny exchange. See, we had to try to explain to Patricia that we wanted to rent a large space to throw a big party. She was confused. Patricia couldn’t quite understand who we were, why we knew so many people or what would possess us to want to throw a big party for the community. We are familiar with causing confusion for people. It’s one of our specialties. So we were undeterred and walked away with a reservation to throw a party for 100 people.
Yesterday we had to call Patricia back to tell her that we will be having more people than expected – apparently we know more people than we even thought – because we currently have 111 people registered to join us!
We are so excited for this event and it’s not too late to join or invite friends. In fact, we have a team of people who are working alongside us to ensure that this is an event you won’t want to miss.
And to facilitate your reservation needs we have an RSVP button conveniently located in this very post…
A Taste of Uncommon [community]
Saturday, March 3rd, 5PM, Old Poway Park
our uncommon [dream]
It’s clear from the response to this event that people are hungry for opportunities to gather together for some Uncommon [community] and we have already begun planning ways to make this event pure goodness.
Our dream is to offer this event to our COMMUNITY as a gift from our Uncommon-ers (that’s US!). That being said – we issued a challenge last week that if each person on our mailing list gave $20 we could cover the cost of the Taste of Community. Many of you responded and we’ve brought in over $500 so far! (THANK YOU!) If you haven’t yet, please consider giving (by clicking the convenient link below) to make sure this and future events are free to our community!
By the way… At the heart of what we are doing with uncommon [good] is connection. Connection with God and one another. We believe deep in our bones that some of the best connection happens around the table. And we aren’t the only ones who think this… Here’s a video promoting a growing movement that we think is pretty cool.
Check it out and get excited about March 3rd!
You are loved and valued.
God Bless our uncommon [community]