Nov 5, 2020.
What is the American Church known for? I’m sure there are different answers from different regions and regarding different denominations, but there is one identifier shared by most of us – the American Church is about Bible teaching. This is why we were considered ‘non-essential’ during the pandemic, and were shut down along with schools, colleges, and other teaching-based institutions. But what was Jesus known for?
#JesusStories: I’m remembering two particular stories in the gospel of Mark. In chapter five a woman who was suffering with a chronic bleeding problem decided to press through the crowd and touch the edge of Jesus’ robe as he walked by. When she did, she was instantly healed. Then in chapter six, hoards of people brought all manner of sick and maimed people to Jesus and asked to touch the edge of his robe. And again, all who touched him were healed. That woman changed everything; she revealed a new understanding of healing; she started a movement. Prior to that woman’s healing, it was assumed that Jesus would need to touch someone as an act of his decision for them to be healed. But now it was apparent that healing flowed from Jesus when people touch him. THAT WAS BIG! Suddenly healing was within sick people’s grasp too. That knowledge was so electrifying that within the space of one gospel chapter it reverberated throughout the crowd and out into the countryside. Throngs of sick people came asking to touch Jesus’ robe too. And He let them! And the same healing that flowed into the woman now flowed into them! The thing that is often missed is what these two stories reveal about the nature of healing. Healing is not as much a divine decision as an ever-present reality. Healing flowed from Jesus even when he was not releasing it, because Jesus is the Healer in whom healing virtue resides. As it turns out, the healing touch might not only be about ‘him touching us‘, but also about ‘us touching him‘. When Jesus is present, healing is present. When we set an Agape Table, Jesus and his healing virtue will be present at that table. Get used to it.
#DinnerChurchQuotes: “The church is called to stand at the crossroads where the world feels pain; we must be willing to embrace inconvenient task of taking the healing of Jesus to the pain of the world.” -NT Wright
#PracticalStuff: We just received word that the American Bible Society is going to print a #JesusStories Bible for us. This bible project will be designed with a secular audience in mind and will include Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts. The first printing will be coming out on Easter 2021. We are desiring to give a copy to every person Jesus has gathered to our dinner churches. Might you consider the same? If you are interested in receiving some copies on first order, let us know in the comment field below. These will cost around $5 per bible, and there are some grants available for those who need it. Talk to me!
Blessings & Boldness,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 97-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.