"It Only Takes A Spark!”

Author: Pastor Charles A. Tapp
May 02, 2019

On last Sabbath our Sligo family participated in an event that is quickly becoming one of our ‘most-favored’ traditions; it’s called, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” In case you may not be familiar with it, in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner our members are given the opportunity to sign up to either host members for a Sabbath meal in their homes or to be guests in someone’s else’s home. And what truly makes this an exciting time for all is that neither the guests nor the hosts know who has decided to take part in the event. All of these details are kept under wraps, that is until the first guest arrives at the address he or she has been given. As the name suggests, it’s all about trying to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. 


At first glance this sounds like a fun and creative way to help our members to get to know one another, which for such a large church like ours can be a daunting task, to say the least. Yes, it is that, but it’s also a great deal more. Pastor Fielder and her Sligo Connect team have been working feverishly for the past few years as they have been taking our Sligo family on an exciting journey to discover new ways to help us see the importance of building biblical community. And by biblical community, I’m referring to what in some circles is called the Acts 2 Church. The Acts 2 Church is a group of believers mentioned in the New Testament in the second chapter of the book of Acts, who were devoted to true and authentic fellowship. And I don’t mean the fellowship meal that we have at church from time to time. Their fellowship was one that involved believers who had made a commitment to God as well as to each other to “do life together” in a way that allowed them to become a very real and meaningful part of each other’s lives. 


If it is our desire to experience this kind of fellowship today, it may involve having a meal together, but the meal is simply a vehicle that allows us to come together as we make plans to do life together. And here is what we need to come to grips with if we are going to commit to doing life together: This kind of fellowship will not happen by accident; it is going to require careful planning on our part. If you remember, part of our planning to this end here at Sligo resulted in The Promise of Community, a curriculum for biblical community written by Sligo members for Sligo members.  Another part of our journey towards doing life together was the implementation of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. And last but definitely not least, the implementation of our Journey Groups was added to this equation. And as has been shared by members of these groups, it has been a game changer for many of them, in that it has dramatically changed how they relate to those in our congregation who they would see only on Sabbath. Because of Journey Groups, they are now actively doing life together. Some have even said that they are developing a genuine love and affection for those who up until recently, they barely knew their name. I am reminded of what the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.” 


So, have we finally found the silver bullet that will become the answer to the challenges we face in our attempts to build biblical community here at Sligo? My answer would have to be, I don’t believe so. The plans that we have implemented and will implement here at Sligo are not an end in themselves, but rather they serve as a means to an end. The hope is that one day we won’t have to have a Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, but that members will begin to organically reach out to connect with those within our congregation, especially a reaching out that takes them outside their comfort zones, without being prompted to do so. And as the song says, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.” Our hope here at Sligo is that these methods that we are currently using to foster biblical community will one day catch fire and that that fire will burn, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to produce such a radical transformation within the hearts of our members that it will give birth to a desire to truly do life together.


My challenge to each of us today is to commit to becoming that spark. A spark that will eventually start a fire that will burn so out of control that those on the outside will want to come inside to watch us burn.












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