Dawnings continues to gather momentum and excitement around our fellowship. Hear the testimony from a recent retreat participant…
About a month ago, a group of eighteen from our church retreated to begin a process of renewal called “Dawnings.” Since the retreat, we have met each Sunday afternoon to continue asking “what does God want our church to be and to do at this point in history?”
I have had several different reactions to the Dawnings experience. I was elated during the retreat weekend at the sense of intimacy among the group, which grew from a spirit of honesty about our personal faith and our perspectives on our church. The intimacy can best be described as a strong bond of trust among us, to honor our stories and to respect our thoughts. This intimacy felt to me like a soft, warm blanket that offers not only comfort but healing.
Upon returning from the retreat, I have sensed a mutual excitement among our team about Dawnings and what answers we will glean for our church. God’s Word repeatedly promises to ‘’make all things new,’’ to ‘’create in us a new heart,’’ and to give us ‘’new life.’’ The rhythm of asking God, waiting for answers, and receiving direction is not just encouraging, but life-giving hope. Dawnings is about God creating in us all something new.
Finally, I have been amazed at the allowance of time in this rhythm of relationship with God. As twenty-first century Americans, we guard our time closely, scrambling to control each moment. Blocks of open time are built into Dawnings; not ‘’down time’’ or ‘’free time’’ but intentionally open time to work hard at being available to God. We are learning a pattern of placing ourselves on God’s time schedule and being content with that. It is a difficult lesson for us to learn to just ‘’be’’ with God.
Overall I have come to feel and appreciate Dawnings as a rhythm between God and the ‘’body of Christ’’ that is our church! This rhythm can be seen ‘’in the beginning’’ as our Creator spoke us into being, formed us into God’s image and gave us purpose. Dawnings is a rhythm of seeking God and receiving from God, a rhythm of being with God and doing God’s work, a rhythm of being loved by God and loving God’s children. May God bless us all as we work hard to make this rhythm the heartbeats of our churches.
Karen Pope is a freelance writer and blogger and member of Second Baptist Church, Memphis, TN.