How can we design our gatherings in ways that build in a measure of resistance to the cultural forces of consumerism? The following are three overlapping categories for discerning and designing that help in the diagnostics of the Ecology of your Gathering.
· How is the room arranged?
· What values does it communicate?
· What is central in the room? What is peripheral?
· Is the furniture arranged for consuming or contributing?
· How is technology used in the room? What does it amplify? What does it reduce?
· Does the room communicate one groups values over another?
· What is the purpose of the gathering?
· Does the order of worship encourage watching or participating?
· Does the liturgy perpetuate autonomy or community?
· Does the content reflect being sent people?
· Does the communication exalt one person or the priesthood of believers?
· Does the worship communicate God’s transcendence and Immanence?
· How often do you gather for worship? Every week? Every other Week? Monthly?
· What does the frequency communicate?
· How is the frequency of this gathering situated in the life of daily community?
· Is this our primary expression of being the church?
· Is this a service to attract the curious? Or to gather the People of God?
· Is the marketing around our gathering sensationalized or over promising?
It is unhelpful to prescribe exactly how you should construct your worship gathering. The missional church is not a cut and paste model. As architects of community, we have to enter into deeper, ongoing reflection as to how the Form, Function and Frequency of our gatherings are shaping people’s imagination about what it means to be the church.