People are fascinated by Diaspora.
Whenever I tell someone what we’re doing in our approach to church, they invariably have questions and are often quite fascinated by the whole thing.
Because we’re different…
That makes sense when you consider that for most people church looks one particular way. And even the fact that ‘church’ has looked that way for centuries!
Each tribe or denomination has it’s own distinctive but the commonalities are:
• Sunday morning
• a particular building, usually with a cross
• sitting in rows facing one way
• listening to professionals or semi-professionals preach and lead
• worship music, often led by a professional or semi-pro or team
• prayer, often done or led by a recognized leader
• gathering in one large, and hopefully growing, group
And these things are not wrong. They draw a lot to people to Jesus and they grow there. We are not rebels pushing our approach as the best, most biblical or God ordained! We are just different. Different is not wrong.
We believe in unity and diversity in the body of Christ. We don’t all need to do the same things the same way. As a matter-of-fact, doing things differently will reach different people. And that is what we are supposed to do. Reach people and make disciples. If we are not making disciples we are not the Church.
Making disciples is what Jesus did and it’s what He told us to do.
“Go and make disciples…” Matthew 28:18-20
“As the Father has sent me so I am sending you.” John 20:21
So what do we do at Diaspora?
Worship, eat food, learn what God says in the Bible, sing, talk, hold one another accountable, serve others in our region, play games, engage in prayer practices, sing, tell stories, watch movies, encourage one another, pray and much more. These various parts are led by anyone in Diaspora, young and old.
- we don’t particularly meet on Sunday mornings — we meet regularly on whatever day works. It could be Sunday, Saturday, Tuesday whatever.
- we don’t meet in one particular building — we meet in homes, parks, theatres, cafes. We meet wherever people gather.
- we don’t sit in rows. A big benefit of being small is that we sit in a comfortable way facing one another. It’s very much the natural ways people gather.
“Think of Diaspora as church in the living room or around the kitchen table”
We do a monthly rhythm of life together including:
• The Gathering for worship, where we all, young and old, bring elements of worship to Jesus including songs, scripture, fellowship, prayer, devotional thoughts, God sightings, food, teaching, activities, or other things. We always do communion at these times but it is led by various Diaspora members not just a pastor.
• serving in a recurring local venue to show Christ’s love in practical ways
• a spiritual formation time with a prayer or devotional practice taught and then engaged in
• DC (disciplemaking community) is twice a month and it features word, worship, fellowship and prayer led by our various members.
• fun, we have a lot of fun, and food! — we are an extended family on mission and being a family means we have fun together whether it’s a hike, movie, BBQ, picnic, potluck, live shows, or whatever
• huddle – about every two weeks, men and women meet in small gender separate groups for personal connection, accountability in life, Bible reading, and prayer for people we’re reaching out to
• leadership development – leaders of our communities are mentored by Jim and Bonnie Tice who provide overall leadership and some of the teaching for our DCs.
All these elements and any of our times together are us being the Church.
Being the Church
A main feature of Diaspora is that we are being the Church, the body of Christ. And the body of Christ worships, learns, serves, prays, laughs, cries, relates, eats and does life together. It’s not a ministry of the leader. It’s the life of the Church. We are the Church together. We minister together. Everyone leads parts of our life together. From the youngest to the oldest. We collaborate in our approach to life, worship, serving, learning and leading.
Are you saying there’s no leader!?
No, I’m not saying that. We do things in an orderly way and each Disciplemaking Community of Diaspora needs to have a leader or leaders. But part of being a leader is working with others and their gifts to lead and grow the Church as Jesus desires. We all benefit and mature as the body of Christ uses its gifts. From young to old, we who have come to follow Jesus have spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit within us. We all contribute and lead parts of that we do.
If you want to know more about Diaspora and how you can either get involved, start a DC yourself or learn more about this model of church, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org