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Friday, September 23, 2011

Our Samaria

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."  Acts 1:8 ESV

By now, each of you should have heard the good news - we're moving to Camden High School's Performing Arts Center for our new worship venue starting December 4th! 

Camden High School Performing Arts Center
It's easy to be excited... The new venue offers a whole bunch of "convenience factors" for us as a church - 350+ padded seats that don't need to be setup each week; a larger lobby; more children's rooms (and more space in each of the rooms; better security for our kids; better sound and lighting options; more parking...the list goes on and on.    But, with that said, and if you've attended The River for more than two weeks, you've heard us say on countless occasions -  "It's not about us...."  So, if these aren't the reasons we're moving, what are they?

Our mission is to multiply and grow missionary disciples and communities by loving God and loving people.

That's why we exist!  It's not only what we as a church believe, but it's what we believe as Christians, based on what Jesus said in Acts 1:8.  Too often we focus on our own comfort and convenience, and forget what God really called us to do in the first place.

As we look at our mission statement, it not only talks about growing disciples, but also communities.  You could (rightly) argue that you can't do one without the other.  We talk about being "in community" in our Life Groups, but there's also an element that calls us to reach communities outside of our comfort zone.  When Jesus commanded that we reach out, he specifically mentioned Jerusalem (Jesus' home) but then spread to "...Judea and Samaria...", and then to "...the end of the earth."  Why did he lump Judea and Samaria together?  In some respects, they're the same place.  So what makes them different?  They were two different ethnic groups.  

As we look at moving to Camden High School, we see an opportunity to move into a community that - in some respects - is different than we are as a church today.  Remember, it's not about the building, it's about the community - and that community looks different than most of us do.

It's not going to happen by accident.  We can't just move to Camden High School and hope that things change.  That we start attracting people that are different.   People that are far from God.  That people will somehow come to know and understand who Jesus is simply because we meet there on Sunday mornings.  It's doesn't work that way.  We use the word intentional a lot, so let me define it.   It means we have a plan, and that each of us own making the plan happen.

What about you?  Are you committed to being on the journey with us?  Are you committed to being intentional?  Are you committed to helping us spread the Gospel to our Samaria?

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