This coming Sunday, both congregations of Soma Church will gather at the Madame Walker Theatre for a combined service: we'll sing together, pray together, celebrate together, and dream together about what God might do in and through our church body.
In one sense, these gatherings, which we hope to do once or twice a year, are an interruption of our rhythms, and maybe even seem like an inconvenience. Each congregation is doing its own work in its own part of the city; why break from that to get together with people we may not know at all?
To remember that we're family
Our congregations are different, just like you're no doubt different from the siblings you grew up with. Between each congregation's natural demographics, its specific leadership, and the nature of its community, we expect that each one will come to look more like itself and less like a franchise of "Soma Church, Inc."
But even though we are different, we (like brothers and sisters) share DNA. We share a family name. And even though we don't see one another often, we gather to remember that we're part of one another. We celebrate together, suffer together, work together. Gathering as one large body gives us the time to remember that.
To celebrate a shared vision
Part of our shared DNA is a shared vision to see the gospel of Jesus transform everything: our individual identities, our families, our neighborhoods, our city, and our world. Both of our congregations are living out that vision in their own contexts, in their own ways; but these gatherings let us remind ourselves of that vision and see how it's growing in people and places we may not know.
To look forward to the future together
We firmly believe that the kingdom of God will keep growing in the world until God makes all things right. We've been excited to see the small role Soma has been able to play in that kingdom so far; and we hope that we'll be able to keep doing so into the future.
We have hopes for the city, like seeing racial tensions healed and the exploitation of the vulnerable ended. We have hopes for our neighborhoods, that more and more of our neighbors will come to know God. And we have hopes for our body, that we'll be able to see more local expressions of the global Church grow in our city.
This gathering time will be an opportunity to look at that vision again and remind ourselves of our hope. It will let us dream together of what God might do to redeem every inch of the world around us, and how we can be a part of that work.
Below is the video from January's All-Congregational Gathering (and photos can be found here); we'd invite you to see what our last gathering was like, and to join us this Sunday at the Walker Theatre.