Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Monday night a group of about 12 of us gathered at the Bamford’s for a discussion about our EmDes community – what this term means to us now and what it may mean to us in the future. All of us were in agreement that EmDes has been crucial to our “spiritual development,” even though many of us are not quite sure what that means. We view the group as an embracing and honest community in which we can feel safe with our struggles and questions but admitted (I would say as a whole) that we could use more depth in personal relationships between individuals.

While most of us connect at EmDes on Sunday, we would like to be able to develop, or at least encourage, more intimate relationships. The dilemma, though, comes when we have to try to figure what our “purpose” is. (I apologize for the words in quotes, but I can’t think of alternative words without traces of possible IC connotations, so I put them in quotes to make me feel less cheesy). Are we going deep or wide? We want to be welcoming to newcomers, but how do we do this and try to grow deeper at the same time? With the limited amount of time in the week, how do we work on developing more substantial relationships with one another? We didn’t come up with a solve-all-our-problems-in-five-easy-steps program, but there were some viable options: breaking into small groups of about 3-4 people once a month (at EmDes), having a few people share their stories during group, having a mid-week get together sometimes for whomever could attend, starting a group chain email to keep up with people throughout the week. I’m sure we’ll talk more about it on Sunday, but most of us are excited (I dare not speak for all of us.) about the small group option where we perhaps have some “focus questions” and take it from there, basically serving as an opportunity to connect to one another without falling into the surfacey chit-chat syndrome.

During our conversation, we also shared what we felt we needed from the community, and while I won’t share everyone’s online, there seemed to be some common themes of desire for deeper connectivity, encouragement, and a general moving forward – past the bitterness and anger of experiences with the church and into a focus on developing a connectivity with God and what that may look like. We discussed the possibility reading through a book of the Bible for a future group “book,” which many people expressed interest in and is something we can discuss as a whole group. More pragmatic, but equally important, issues came up, such as sharing hosting opportunities once or twice a month, having someone else manage emails and blogs, and basic organizational restructuring, so those are also things we can discuss as whole group or people can volunteer to share/take over. I do dare to speak for those of us who were there in saying that we felt it was a validating and productive discussion that helped us understand better what we need and want from our community while also being cognizant of the limitations we face. And thus I end, abruptly because I can’t think of a better way to end eloquently, an extremely condensed summary of the EmDes “where is this relationship going” conversation.


Debbie said...


Thanks for posting the summary. It is very helpful to those of us not able to attend the meeting.

EmDes is a wonderful group of folks... I look forward to our collective futures of deep & wide.

Yard said...

Were any of the tangibles or principles followed up on last night? If so, how did they go? Someone please update this stranded fool...

Jimbo said...

I saw a couple of interesting things happen.
Leading off, Adam asked if Joy wanted to share. The look on her face at that moment was priceless. She declined saying she wasn't quite ready and shouldn't sharing be voluntary. However, Debbie and Sherri did have something they wanted to share. After they were done, we had a moment of silent group prayer/focus on what they'd shared and then SaraH capped off with a prayer.
Adam asked if anyone else wanted to share, then asked about feedback on Rob Bell (I think he was stalling cuz he hadn't read the Naked Now chapters). We spent some time talking about Rob Bell and never really did talk about the book. We collectively decided (because Adam was no longer in the room) to finish the discussion early and just spend time together.
What happened next was really incredible, because people just naturally gravitated into groups of 2, 3 or 4 and spent the rest of the night talking about various topics, then moving to another group and talking more. Seemed like it was a very natural time of getting to go deeper with each other. At least that was my perspective.
Of course, there was something missing w/o the Mac's here. Missed you guys alot, Hope your little guy is doing better.