Who's in Your Boat?

Simple & Small 1st & 3rd Sundays
Let me ask you this question. 
Jesus had his Peter, James & John.
Who's in your boat?
Why the Metaphor CREW?
The metaphor of a CREW is rich. First off, we are the River Church, and we envision all of us in the boat together navigating this River together. So the picture is 7-8 or 3-4 people paddling down a river or ocean in a canoe  – it reminds us that it’s all about community and that we can’t go it alone. Running the rapids, we all need a Coxie (coxswain), who is the one responsible for steering the boat, calling out the commands, coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers. In our faith journey, Jesus is the Coxie and our job is to listen to His voice alone.
The River Church will be gathering on ZOOM like always this Sunday at 10 am. We will continue to make our way through the ACTS series entitled Spirit Unleashed so if you have chosen the Sunday AM ZOOM Gathering as your gathering place every 1st & 3rd Sunday (Simple & Small Weeks), we hope to see you!
 
We know many of you are craving face to face gathering spaces, or perhaps are growing ZOOM weary, so we want to let you know you are not alone. I think this is true for every one of us. But let me encourage you that our current crisis (COVID) is an invitation for all of us to press into Christ-Centered Community for growth and fellowship, not distance ourselves. The charge in Hebrews applies today, just as it always has.
 
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds., not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24-25).
 
I don’t use this as a sledgehammer, to brow beat you, rather it is meant to simply encourage all of us the vital importance of us gathering together as brothers and sisters in Jesus. Fellowship, not isolation is the Spirit’s invitation.
 
In order to accommodate and facilitate deeper fellowship, perhaps centered around God’s Word, we are encouraging the River to gather in smaller groups the 1st & 3rd Sundays.
 
Here’s how we envision this looking.
 
For most of us this means we will continue to gather as always on ZOOM, where Pastor Darcy or a special guest speaker will lead us in the teaching that morning. For those of you who feel best connecting in this time slot, we encourage you to continue as normal. Nothing changes for you.
 
Now in these time slots, we may ask certain leaders to lead a break out group following the morning’s message and time of worship. So if you feel comfortable leading a break out group through some pre-prepared discussion questions, please contact Pastors Darcy or Kenda.
 
Now if you would prefer something smaller these 1st & 3rd weeks, we would encourage you to be praying into a pursuing what that might look like over this coming year. To clarify, this might be one of our normal Simple & Small Groups already running at the River, or a new group of River friends you choose to huddle / bubble with this coming year.
 
If you’re looking for ideas on what this might look like, we encourage everyone from your group to listen to the previous week’s sermon prior to gathering, then you as a facilitator will lead them through the discussion questions for that week. This will allow your people to grow deeper in their understanding and application of the Word; and to learn to listen and respond to the Holy Spirit together.
 
The discussion questions will always be listed under the particular sermon under the Listen link.
If you are wondering what group to join, or feel like you are already maxed out and can’t fit in another group, let me clarify that we are not asking you to get busier. We are simply asking you to pause and look at what groups you are currently part of, and then perhaps choose one of those groups to be your group where you can practice these things together.
For instance, if you are already ride or hike with a few friends from the River, then why not invite that group to go deeper? Invite everyone to listen to the sermon from the previous week, and then after you ride/hike, you gather together in a social distance manner, working through the questions and pray for one another.
This same thing can be applied to a lot of groups already running at the River. For instance:
- Women’s Wednesday Morning Prayer
- Tantalus Group
- Paradise Valley Group
- Elder Team
- Any particular Bible Study Group (leave space for people to share and open up around the previous Sunday as well as study your particular book)
- Book Study
- worship team practice (in the future when things open back up)
Now if you pause and realize that apart from Sunday morning you are not gathering with other believers for encouragement in this way, perhaps that is an invitation to do some some reflection on the above verse, and make some healthy adjustments. COVID is not going away soon. We are entering the winter months, so with COVID things will likely become more difficult, not easier. All this is a reminder that we can’t go it alone. This Christian walk was never meant to be a solo journey.
As you pause and pray into this, we just ask that you let us know what group you’re part of, and who might be the faciltator of that group. In the sport of rowing, there is a Coxie in each boat, keeping people on track and in sync, so too we also need someone to be the Coxie in each of these settings.
I hope that is helpful. Again, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call Darcy or Kenda.
Expanded View of Worship
We know that worship in singing isn’t the same over ZOOM as it is live. We know that. Now we can get busy and pre-record our teams every week and have some flashy presentation every week on You Tube, but we choose not to do that as we feel it doesn’t foster community, nor is it sustainable for our worship teams. So ZOOM is what we have to work with during this time.
But rather than bemoan this season as if it’s a curse, let’s try to see the silver lining in it. Perhaps God is asking us to expand our view of worship? That it’s more that singing, in fact it includes so much more.
Other ways we worship when we come together:
- Communion which is the 4th Sunday of every month
- Scripture Readings
- Reading or writing a Poem to God
- Perhaps you write your own Psalm and read it for the church
- Corporate prayer
All these things are worship. So let’s see this season we are in as the Spirit’s invitation to all of us to stretch and grow, reach and risk, into other ways of worship.
So our encouragement would be for everyone at the River to huddle, bubble, or whatever you want to call it, with the same group of people all year, whether it be via live ZOOM in a big group, a small group, or via the sermon recording with a small group of people. 
And whatever group you join or make up, please let us know so we can pray for you.
Make sense? If you have any questions, please feel free to talk to Kenda or Darcy in the coming weeks.
Our motto this year is "Who's in Your Boat?"