A Pioneer Ministry Blog from Andy Wilson, Lead Evangelist at Gloucester and Forest Centre of Mission
The three Rs : rhythm, regularity and response
Much has been written about these elements, but I wanted to maybe put something up, so that it would just jog our memories, and maybe even give something different into the conversation.
Some of this may be provocative, but it is simply to get us thinking.
As we have journeyed with a community of people here in Matson during lockdown, we became more and more aware that people were engaging with us because they knew that there was a rhythm to what we were doing. 8 pm initially on certain days, and then 8 am most mornings of the week, meant that having that 8 number was a focal point in peoples minds. We didn’t shift the timing unless there was no way out of something, and there wasn’t anyone to fill in. 8 o’clock became known as Share Matson time. People knew the times, the days, and enabling these to settle meant that people would have them in their minds.
Setting the rhythm was important, but so is the need for regularity. If we are serious about building community together, then meeting once every x number of weeks does not do that. When meeting together it does not have to be for a long time, but the more regular the meeting, the deeper the sense of community, and actually the quicker the sense of community starts to form. Different people can also do different things at the times when you gather, whether that is something fun, a game, quiz or so on, or whether it is eating together, or a conversation time, it doesn’t have to be the same person each time leading things, but the importance of regular community time cannot be underestimated. I know of some groups that have a number of weeks in between their times together, and I wonder, how deep is that sense of community?
So if we have a rhythm, and that rhythm has regularity to it, this enables a community to be more responsive to each other, and also to what God is saying to them. Regular engagement means that there starts to be a greater sense of openness, and therefore people are able to respond to need quicker for those who have a need. We see this in the early church in the book of Acts. The rhythm and regularity deepen that sense of journeying together, but as well as knowing the needs of others in the community and responding to those, it also means that as the community grows in trust, which comes with regularity, they start to learn what it means to listen and respond to what God may be saying to them as a community. Responding to each other, and the community around us, and also responding to what God is saying to us as a community are key elements to a Godly, missional community starting to form. As Jesus did tell us to love the Lord our God, and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. A loving relationship is the responsive demonstration of a community of people who regularly meet and have a rhythm that people can remember and join in with.
Gloucester & Forest Centre of Mission