I'm sitting here at Prince Street cafe doing some Scripture reading, reflection and journaling. I started this morning in Mark 6 and began to read the first two sections on the chapter. I came upon the part of the chapter where Jesus sends out his twelve disciples two by two and gives them instructions about what to do, what not to do, and how to live as a missionary to the towns and villages. As I read I came upon verse 7 which says, "And he called his twelve disciples together and sent them out two by two, with authority to cast our evil spirits. The thing that stood out to me in this one verse is two words: together and sent. This two words seem like opposites. It's almost like Jesus is saying Come Together...Now Get out. Jesus wanted them to gather together and then scatter. Maybe my reading of this text has been influenced by the book AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church but I see both parts of the text as important. To gather with each other, hear Jesus, and figure out the mission that he was sending them on. To be sent two by two into the towns and villages, preach the good news, heal the sick, and cast out demons. They needed both.
As I met with a leader within the COB yesterday about our vision and how, in a way, it seems like we are changing our vision but in reality our vision is the same, just how we are going about the execution of the vision is different. We talked about the importance of both the gathering and scattering. He had some questions about whether we would meet together for worship, prayer, bible study, etc... He was also helping me to think about how I share these things with more traditional people who view Church as a time and a place. I told him that we meet every Sunday for these things, but we are also meeting together to do mission together, and we are also sending each other into the world to be the hands and feet of Jesus bringing blessing into people's lives.
Gathered and Scattered....you need them both. All too often we put too much effort, time, money and focus on the Gathered part and we forget the Scattered part. So at this point in our corporate life as Veritas we do gather but our gathering is just simple and doesn't take much time, and effort to put together so that we can put more time, effort, money, resources, and thought into our Scattered lives (Scattered doesn't only mean that we Scatter separately....Jesus sent out his disciples two by two....we are working on developing our Corporate Scattering and how to engage culture as a community).
So by all means Gather but do it as a huddle so that you can then scatter into the world to be Jesus to a needy and hurting world.