Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Creating The Church We've Dreamed Of


Why does Cookeville need another church service? We never miss our exit off the interstate because of the giant cross that marks it. There’s lots of church in Cookeville. Why might we need more? And why am I, a person with plenty of extracurricular joy already on his plate, and only a year “back in church” after more than 20 years way, so enthused and dedicated to the creation of this service?

Come ToGather wants to be a church we’ve dreamed of -- or at least the church I imagine we might want to become. More than anything, we want to be inclusive of folks, seekers and sinners, the unchurched and undecided, regardless of their spiritual history and spiritual self-definition.

We want to transcend the narrow notions of liberal and conservative currently stifling so many to be real-world-active and open-minded and open-hearted in a biblical manner. We want to invite Christians whose relationship with Jesus is not diluted by welcoming -- and even worshiping and studying with -- people from diverse and divergent religious paths.

Come ToGather seeks a style that’s immediate, intimate, and inspired. We want to be down-to-earth in the house-church-without-dogma or church-campfire-in-the-woods kind of way.

We want to connect with the movement known as the “emergent church.” In August, we visited an emergent church in Lousville, Kentucky, to discover folks already doing what we want to do, making church holy and holistic in ways that seem obvious but still largely untapped. Come ToGather began as the evenong worship at a local Presybterian church but has since moved its worship onto the campus of Tennessee Tech, where it is exploring the possibility of becoming a recognized campus ministry. Now unaffiliated with any parent institution, we don’t know if we are non-denominational, anti-denominational, post-denominational, cross-denominational, trans-denominational, or un-denominational – but we enjoy meeting each week & discovering what the spirit has in store for us.

We want to be a singing, dancing, creating, celebrating kind of church where spiritual gifts and artistic gifts commingle. We want poets, artists, dancers, singers, painters, and more to come experience with us, to grow and know with us.

Come ToGather wants you to bring your light to share with the larger light that might open us up to larger life. Come ToGather will gather in a circle. We will unashamedly read and study and sing together. And every week, we will gather for a feast to which every one is invited. We will share a spiritual meal and then a potluck meal. This Sunday, the table will be set. I hope to see you there. --Andrew William Smith, co-founder of Come ToGather