The Gathering – “Doing Life Together”

We recently started meeting with a group of like-minded believers on Sunday afternoons for fellowship, prayer, Bible study, and worship. This has led many to ask us, “Are you starting a church?” Our answer is “No,” not because of a lack of appreciation for the traditional church. We have served in churches for over 40 years. But in our culture, the word “church” is associated with buildings, denominations, programs, Sunday morning services, and other traditions which can be helpful in making disciples, but these are not the focus of the Gathering. Our simple desire is to “do life together” in the love and power of God’s Spirit.

Acts 2:42 describes the daily life of the first church like this: “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” That’s our agenda as a gathering of believers from various churches and church backgrounds. We are doing life together in the power of the Holy Spirit without any desire to compete with or detract from what traditional churches are doing. We have no desire to increase attendance, count numbers, or make a name for ourselves. Our vision is to build the Kingdom by introducing people to Jesus who may never attend a traditional church and then lovingly equip them to use their gifts in serving His Kingdom. When the early church did life together like that, the by-product was, “the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47)

Others ask about our name, The Gathering. It’s taken from 2 Thessalonians 2:1, where Paul describes the return of Christ, “Now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled…” One day all true believers in Jesus will be gathered together as one church family before the Father’s throne. But we believe it’s possible to enjoy a foretaste of that non-denominational love and fellowship even now. Surely this is allowed and encouraged by the words of Hebrews 10:25, “We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.” This command certainly applies to the organized churches and small groups we attend. But we believe there’s also a place and a need for believers from every church background to gather together in worship of Christ and love for one another.

Because there are already many good churches in our community, we have no desire to compete with them by incorporating as a church, adopting by-laws, and holding worship services on Sunday mornings. That is not the Gathering’s purpose. Our vision is simply to do life together in the power of the Holy Spirit encouraging those who love Jesus regardless of their church or denomination.

So, as we look forward to that great day when Jesus returns for His church, we will call our Sunday afternoon Bible study and fellowship “The Gathering.”  We think that’s the best way to describe who we are now and who we’ll be forever when Jesus returns for us from heaven at The Gathering!

 

15 responses to “The Gathering – “Doing Life Together”

  1. After choir concerts are over (May 22) I plan to come and gather with you. What time is the gathering? We get out of choir practice at 6PM God bless you and your ministry. I love to sit under the teaching of God’s Word.

  2. Thanks for using your voice to glorify the Lord, Bruce! Join us whenever you can. We meet at 4:30 for prayer and 5:00 for the Gathering. Love you brother!

  3. What a fine Gathering it is Gary. I love what you wrote. We as the body are the church and when we gather God is there among us. I love the name “The Gathering” it fit’s so well. Thank you for the message.

  4. Thanks, Pam! I can’t take credit for the name. Wouldn’t you know it came from my daughter and wife? They’re the idea people in our family. I appreciate the encouragement, though. Tell others to check out the site. Thanks!

  5. Gary & Cheryl,
    I love the name the Gathering for our meetings!! I love our meetings and do hope they continue forever!! You two are fabulous!!!
    XOXOXOXO
    Marty

  6. What a great gathering time it is indeed…Thanks so much for encouraging
    all of us to be still, and wait on the Lord. It has been very refreshing not to
    make rash decisions, and just let God be God!…..thanks

  7. The name is perfect!! This may sound like an immature Christian idea, but I am an immature Christian so here goes.
    I believe church is in my heart, it is where I go to learn all I can about Jesus and His word, to get reinforcement through fellowship and prayer, to be comforted that I am not alone in this big scary world. When I am there all the stress leaves my body, my soul. I am renewed every time I am there. It strengthens my faith, brightens the light of Jesus I carry inside, so the outside sees it.
    This is what happens when I am a part of The Gathering on Sunday afternoons! This is a new experience for me and I am loving every second of it.
    Thank you Gary and Cheryl and all of you who attend now and in the future, you all make “church” happen for me.
    Toni

  8. Hey Gary,
    Love the new name..A few years back my son attempted to start a home church and named it “The Gathering”. I especially like the intended concept…focus on Jesus and forget the politics. Thanks for being such a great light in this confused world.

    • Thanks for the comment, Doug! I can’t take credit for the name. My daughter and son-in-law thought of it. But right back at you about being a light in this confused world. You’re one of those friends who helps me remember what it’s all about so I don’t get sidetracked with unimportant things. Bless you brother! Gary

  9. I like your video! Every point of view about what “church” is to many people. I like it, I can identify with some.

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