Jesus told the story of a man who had two sons. The younger one wished his father was dead and asked for his inheritance in advance. Dad gave it to him and he wasted every dime. Penniless, he decided to go home. When his dad saw him, he ran to meet him. “I’m so sorry, I…” “Shhh. You’re back now and that’s all that matters.” The older brother, believing he had earned his dad’s love by never making mistakes, was jealous. He couldn’t believe his dad could act so recklessly.
Both of these sons were lost; only one was found again.
People at Encounter come from a wide variety of backgrounds but our common thread is that we know that at times in our lives we’ve all messed up, screwed up, and fouled up. We’ve been the younger son who needed to swallow his pride and ask for forgiveness. We’ve been the older son who mistakenly believed that he had the answers and everything would be better if only everyone else were like him. And we’ve been the father, who was charged with running after those who’ve hurt us and embracing them even before they admitted any wrong-doing.
It might help to think of your home as a model for how we do church. This means we focus on three main environments: the Front Door, Living Room, and Kitchen. Front Doors are where you meet guests. Our weekend worship experiences are our Front Door. Living Rooms are where guests become friends. Our midweek events and small groups build lasting relationships. Kitchens are where people work together and share meals. Our discipleship happens here.
Our Front Door is the primary environment where we meet new people. This could be at an outreach event such as a carnival, Easter egg hunt, or service project. Most of the time we're meeting guests at our actual front door - weekend worship! At the Front Door we're sensitive to fact that we're meeting from a variety of backgrounds, which may or may not include previous church experience. Our goal is to demonstrate creative, engaging, and authentic worship that provides ample room for a guest to participate at their own comfort level.
The Living Room is where guests become friends. These are the many connecting groups and events we organize to help people build relationships. There are men's and women's ministries along with short-term studies of books and movies. Sometimes it's just an excuse to get together, like going to watch a church softball game, while other times it might be a service project to a person or family in need.
Kitchens are often places where the most authentic conversations take place. At Encounter, the Kitchen environment is accountable, committed, vulnerable, and growth-oriented. We would love to walk this road with you when you're ready.