A family of families puts love into practice

Divine service, a working lunch, and a brainstorming session. This is Fall Family Day, a project initiated by the New Apostolic Church in the USA for its approximately 240 congregations.

“The congregation is a family of families,” nac.today correspondent Victoria Bauer says. The term “family” is often used in the sense of blood relations. “But what unites a congregational family is the love for Christ.”

To grow together as a congregation means to grow into the nature of Christ. That is why Christian love will be the main theme of Fall Family Day. “Christ did not come to serve us, but to serve,” Victoria Bauer says with reference to Mark 10: 45. In an article and a video on its website, the NAC USA outlines its plans for the day.

The question of why

The day begins with a divine service that will focus on Matthew 25: 40: “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” The sermon will explore the question of why we do what we do for the Lord. This includes recognizing that we show our love for our God in concrete ways by meeting the needs of others.

There will be an interactive section of five to eight minutes, designed for the children in the congregation. This part can be presented by any member who has a gift in dealing with children. The idea of the organizers is to have multiple people and generations involved.

Many answers to the question of how

The divine service will be followed by a working lunch. It will involve a brainstorming session on how the congregation can implement Christian love and serve the neighbour. Five aspects from Matthew 25: 34–40 will be used as a guide and listed on sheets of paper that will be posted in the church:

  • “I was hungry. And you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty. And you gave me something to drink.”
  • “I was a stranger. And you invited me in.”
  • “I needed clothes. And you gave them to me.”
  • “I was sick. And you took care of me.”
  • “I was in prison. And you came to visit me.”

Every member of the congregation can make suggestions for projects or activities that will then be listed under the given aspects. The facilitators are asked to specifically encourage children to come forward with ideas. This open brainstorming session will end with a prayer.

Not a one-time event

The sheets will stay posted in the congregations even after the initial brainstorming session to give everyone a chance to consider the ideas in the days and weeks following. In a second meeting it will be decided which ideas will be implemented. The size of the congregation will of course determine the number and kind of projects.

Every project should have at least two people to head it up: one who is a strong communicator and one who has a passion and vision for the project. Together the participants will formulate both short term and long term goals.

“We want to create a consistent culture of serving in our congregations,” Victoria Bauer explains and adds that serving others should not just be a one-time event, but become a characteristic that defines our identity as Christians, because that is what Christ did.

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Andreas Rother
USA, Social commitment, Congregational life