Last week at our Sunday worship gatherings at Vintage Faith Church, we had a vision Sunday sort of a message. Looking back on our history and looking ahead sort of a thing. It was a communion Sunday and we set up the room as we do often with the cross in the very center of the room and everyone comes together at the cross to take communion.
We have taught through the vision of our church every year since we started in 2004 and last time we had artists who painted "worshiping" "community" "missional" theologians" in art pieces we now hang around the sanctuary. So with the diagram we use to explain our vision (below) and as we put up the cross in the center, our room set-up is actually the diagram of how we explain the vision.
On this past Sunday, we did something similar to what we did back when we first planted the church. At our very first communion as a church back when we started in 2004, we built a 3-D puzzle of a church building. This photo here of the box is the actual one we used. It was only 200 pieces as we launched Vintage Faith Church with around 120 people. I thought it would be easy to build the 3-D puzzle since it was only 200 pieces. But I fast learned it wasn't too easy and Becky and I stayed up till around 4 AM the night before putting it together.
When we got to the communion part of the gathering, we all came to to the table to take communion but as we did, we disassembled the church building piece by piece. Everyone took off a piece of the 3-D puzzle of the church building. So we deconstructed it and the message that night was "Be the church" that we wanted to stress as our theme. That we will never see "church" as the building, but we are the church wherever we go – thus taking apart the church building to show that and everyone kept a piece as a reminder.
We had a similar theme this past Sunday, and we didn't get a 3-D puzzle since we are too big for one puzzle now and it's hard to find those 3-D puzzles. Instead what we we did was take a photo of the current church building we are in and had it made into several flat normal puzzles. You can bring any photo to a photo shop and they can print it out about 11" x 14" or something like that – but on heavy stock and they cut into puzzle pieces. So we had 5 or 6 of them made. When we came up for communion at each gathering we took apart the puzzle. It was a way of reminding everyone – church is not a place, but a people. We don't "go to church" but we are the church. So as people came, each took off a piece of the assembled puzzle. Below is a photo of the way one of actual photo puzzle of our building came out before it was disassembled. It's a close-up of a section of the puzzle, and if you look close you can see the puzzle piece cuts in the photo.
What an adventure it has been planting a church – seeing how God develops it and all that happens in the adventure of it all. On this Sunday, I interviewed Eli who became a Christian recently and he thanked the people of Vintage Faith Church for their part. For all those who plant churches, may you enjoy the crazy, up and down, never a dull moment of it all. And people who don't know Jesus are worth every hardship, struggle and ups and downs you may go through.