Posted By: Tim Mannin
ENTRY EIGHT in our writing series, EIGHTEEN, which is all about some of in's and out's of this church.
In Luke 5 we find a story about Jesus going to a party. The scriptures say that a man named Levi held a great banquet for a large group of people. Like any party they ate and had several festivities, This was an unusual gathering of Jesus and his followers mingling with tax collectors and sinners. This dynamic created some unsettled Pharisees. Certainly, an interesting scene.
In John 2 we find another story. This time Jesus is at a wedding. He was there with his disciples. The text doesn’t infer that they were there to do some sort of specific ministry. It seems as if Jesus was simply there. He was likely a friend of the bride and/or the groom. John doesn’t write anything about the actual wedding, but instead this story is about a scene that happens quite a bit of time after the ceremony – we know this because we read that the wedding guests had already polished off all of the available wine. Another interesting scene.
Jesus went to parties?
It’s funny how the word party has such varied interpretation. Depending on the conversation it can be in reference to an innocent 4-year-old ballerina birthday party. In other conversations it can mean an out of control kegger at a frat house. If someone says they are a partier – well…that likely means they are high as a kite. Sometimes the word party can even be classy – all you have to do is call it a dinner party. Clearly, there are all sorts of parties: birthday parties, drinking parties, dinner parties, wedding parties, dance parties, work parties, holiday parties, pre-parties, after-parties, surprise parties, pinterest parties, Super Bowl parties, tea parties, block parties, and the list goes on and on.
What about a church party? What does that look like?
Traditionally, a church party involves some potluck casseroles, a Jell-O mold, and if you’re lucky some horseshoes for entertainment. That scene is not too interesting.
At OKC Community Church we like parties. We want to learn the art of throwing parties. Parties bring people together, they build relationships, and they create life. We believe that when we engage in life instead of operating programs we might actually find ourselves following the ways and rhythms of Jesus. Too many times in the church we try and systemize, categorize, and programize life in order to shuttle people through our prescribed methods of community and discipleship. What if we decided we’d be more intentional about enjoying life with people?
OKC Community wants to throw parties and we want our people to throw parties! It’s been said many times, but - people are the church - therefore anytime you throw a party it’s essentially the church throwing a party. The church (the organized body) will throw occasional parties that have a simple agenda to build friendships and enjoy life together. Church leadership will often organize these, but anyone can initiate a party at the Community House or somewhere else for the people of OKC Community.
I want to make sure you understand the significance and purpose of these times together. They aren’t unnecessary “events” – instead they are subtle attempts to reframe the way we understand the Church. The Church isn’t an institution aimed at providing religious goods and services in the form of programs and better systems that you can plug and play in your life. The Church is intended and purposed to be source of community, support, love, and encouragement in your life with Christ. Parties and fun times together clearly can’t stand on their own as a strategy for a church to exist. However, parties can help significantly in bringing life to a city.
What if you threw some parties?
We don’t want you throwing keggers or date parties, ha! However, you could throw an occasional party for people in your neighborhood, families from your kids class at school, some people from your work, or even a mix of people from the church.
We need to throw parties. It’s crazy how many of us sit in our wonderful homes and think that our house is our escape from the world. Our homes are brimming with the potential to bring life to our city. I believe our homes are the best place to bring life and love to others. It can be the best place to enjoy life, enjoy relationships, and be the church.
As a part of our “Love Your Neighbor” initiative we’ve created a list of practical suggestions in how to throw a party for your neighbors. Go to Love-Your-Neighbor-Party to learn more.
So, like I said – we like parties.