Reminiscing: Edge City Church

Stopping for a break at the end of the year is a gift we who live in the Southern Hemisphere are recipients of. It’s summer (well, almost) and we kiwi’s head to the beach in droves. It’s like we are drawn to the water, perhaps an opportunity to wash the previous year out of our system and begin to be refreshed for a new year ahead. It’s a time to rest, reflect and consider what a New Year might hold.

While lazing around on one of these slow summer-days Greg and I had a conversation about what our personal reasons were for why we go to Church; ‘What do we want from Church?’ It’s a great question, one that we don’t often ask ourselves rather ‘What do we think people want?’ Sometimes the answer to that question comes from a calculated and experienced history, the rest of the time it’s just guesswork! And as shifts in culture have coerced us into considering what Church in the 21st Century looks like we need to be honest and brave in our answer. It seems that the goal posts have moved, the game plan has changed, and we are experiencing great shifts in the tides.

For me there were three words that came to mind; Company, Experience and Challenge, not new words but perhaps ones whose meanings have evolved to embrace the culture we live in. 

‘Company’ implies a number of things and has layers of meaning, from offering basic companionship through to forging deep friendships. None of us were designed to live alone, even though our extroversion, ambi-version and introversion dictate how this is played out. I read (from reputable source which has slipped my mind!) that psychological research is coming to understand that most mental illness is a result of loneliness. We need each other and the Church is a really good place to offer and find a sense of belonging, at many levels.

Experience is undeniable. We can think through issues, offer answers to problems and allow our intellectual prowess to govern our decisions, but experience slaps us in the face, confronts and jolts us into new ways of seeing and being. Our ‘actual’ interactions with God and people are the most powerful shaping agents in our lives, what we think about life changes in the face of these experiences inviting us into new and undiscovered vista’s.

All of this is a Challenge for me! To be able to be a part of shaping a community where these things are present is a privilege and a curse! We all want something, and when we don’t get it throwing our toys out of the cot seems to be the easiest option, (speaking from experience, mine).

After our conversation that day at the beach we were reminded that the original name of our Church was Edge City Church (ECC). We even have a number plate to remind us of the pride of place she had in our lives. We changed her name to Edgekingsland a number of years into our journey, but perhaps the anagram lives on in these three ideas that have birthed, formed, shaped and continue to evolve us into a community we all love and are grateful for. My prayer for us all this year is that we can together share these challenges and be ourselves part of the change we would like to experience.

Linda

Rob Byrne