Church Experience #47 – December 11, 2011
New City Fellowship East Lake – Chattanooga, TN
Having a collective experience with a group of people is a very powerful thing that evokes very personal emotions. We all know that. It’s what the whole foundation of church is based on. None of this was intended to be experienced alone. Worship, prayer, fellowship, love, service, sacrifice…while they can (and should) be done alone, the coming together of a family or community of believers magnifies them exponentially. Jesus even went so far as to say “…for where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” (Matt 18:20) God wants us to come together and experience things collectively. Collective emotional experiences are more powerful, attractive, lasting…they can warm you right down to your bones in a way that private personal experiences simply cannot. Have you ever had a mind-blowing epiphany? How about an extremely vivid dream? Or maybe an amazing feat or accomplishment that nobody else witnessed. The first thing you do is look for the closest person to share your experience with…am I right? So it would stand to reason that when churches come along within a community that capture the essence of that community and people get engaged and engrossed, so much so that it births this growing and developing collective experience with each other and with God that begins changing lives…people talk about it. Other people hear and want to be a part of it. People may not even understand it but they can see that there is something to it. It ignites internal fires that may have been long forgotten or even undiscovered, and when these fires are lit and have a source of fuel to keep them burning they jump out and light other fires and as the Spirit wind blows, the fires continue to spread. These are the types of experiences that can envelop and impact a whole community. These experiences become real life stories that we are compelled to tell and share with others. I’m here to tell this story about the community of East Lake in Chattanooga…there’s a fire down there.