Training Institute: United Kingdom Update

One of Harris Creek’s ministry principles, Create Over Reproduce, drives us as a body to pursue creative solutions to hurdles that we face as we look to seek the welfare of our city. Our culture is constantly shifting, and we desire to be proactive when positioning our church to intersect the Gospel with that culture. One way to approach the unknowns that lie ahead is to learn from those who have gone before us.

Over the last few years our staff has been hard at work identifying churches that have wrestled with what we are just beginning to see here in our country. Our research took us to England. We have found a handful of unique and passionate churches that we think we can learn from. Though these partners aren’t an exact match of Harris Creek in terms of theology and practice, they do share a true desire to creatively engage their cities with the Gospel.

With trusted partners in place, we have begun to send young leaders into a summer long learning environment. The reciprocal aspects of the Training Institute:UK allow us to bless these churches with excellent volunteers for an extended period of time, and in turn we get to observe and ask questions as to their approach.

Church life in a post-Christian world is going to look different in each city. Our second summer rotation marks the addition of a ministry partner. As of right now, we have four residents in two different cities/churches in England. This cohort will experience vastly different approaches to seeking the welfare in Brighton and Birmingham. We are excited about what they will learn and bring back for us to consider.

This summer’s residents are Nathan Scott (Brighton), Christy McCaw (Brighton), Zach Winterrowd (Birmingham) and Shayna Bettinger (Birmingham). We will be providing updates on their experiences throughout the summer by way of this blog and our social media platforms.

 

We are excited to announce that we are adding short term options (8 days) for those looking to experience the TI:UK in an accelerated way. Stay tuned for those details!

Training Institute: U.K. (Month Review)

 

Here’s a quick rundown of the first month of the Training Institute: U.K.:

  • Katie Yarbro, Elizabeth Ogburn, and Merritt Denman are the first interns for the program, and they are all serving with One Church in Brighton, England.
  • They hit the ground running and headed to Youth Camp, an off-site but nearby gathering of multiple congregations that gave the interns an early jump on meeting some One Church members.
  • The host home for each of the girls has been incredible with hospitality and inclusion.
  • 13568882_10207130039034012_1407876478704108352_oOne Church hosted its first of several CHOMP events, which are meal and activity provisions for the local community while kids are on holiday from school. The interns have mentioned that a noteworthy takeaway was how disarming it can be to simply sit down next to someone at a meal table. The volunteer servers do not stand back and keep to themselves, but rather they are expected to pull up a folding chair and sit with those whom they serve at the plastic pop-up table. Continue reading “Training Institute: U.K. (Month Review)”

Training Institute:UK (Week One Review)

  • Interns arrived on schedule and made their way through customs. Not necessarily the smoothest process–thanks again guinea pigs : ) –but they made it through. Andy (One Church) was there to welcome them out of the gate and transported them to Brighton.
  • After a rest day, they went to a Youth Camp near Brighton that they described as resembling a Passion gathering (circa 2000). From Elizabeth’s picture and their collective description of the event, I can envision the tents among throngs of people and the ecumenical feel of a gathering that is quick to offer a “response” time.youth camp brighton
    Continue reading “Training Institute:UK (Week One Review)”

Harris Creek Training Institute: UK

London, England is an epicenter for cultural development. What happens in London doesn’t seem to stay in London. Business ventures, style trends, fine arts movements, and social reform may start within the walls of Big Ben and Parliament, but they flow outward like the River Thames, beyond the realm of the big city and to previously unknowing neighbors. A speck of an idea can float to the heart of Great Britain or it can float out to the open sea to distant lands that wait. Despite what the geography of the United Kingdom wants you to believe, “no man is an island” after all, but rather each person is as capable of influencing, as he/she is capable of being influenced. In London, the transformation of an individual has the potential to influence the world at large. Can anything good come out of London? Can anything good come out of Waco?

Continue reading “Harris Creek Training Institute: UK”

Part of the Family — Lent 2016

Harris Creek joins the Christian tradition throughout the ages by participating in Lent while also adapting some of these practices to fit our context and culture. Every year, our church chooses a particular book of the Bible to read together or a particular spiritual discipline such as prayer to guide our attention through the season. The intentional “taking on” of a particular focus is the acceptance of an invitation to explore new rhythms and routines in life, habits that reorient our perspective on life, on God, and how it all comes together.

 

This year, we hope it does all come together. That is, Ash Wednesday, the season of Lent, the Scripture we study, the worship we encounter, the relationships we share, and the needs deep within our city and our souls—what if they all came together over the next 7 weeks?

  • Ash Wednesday is part of the family tradition for Christians to confess our sins and welcome the season of Lent.
  • The healthy relationships we cherish most are with those people who tend to welcome us home, like we’re part of the family.
  • Scripture passages like Galatians 4:6 tell us that we are “now part of God’s family” (The Voice), adopted as heirs—sons and daughters—through Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
  • In the last statistical report, there were 277 children in the foster care system from McLennan County—children desperately wanting to be welcomed in as part of the family.

Between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, we encourage you to be deliberately focused on the theme of becoming a part of the family, and we have provided a devotional guide–will be available as a PDF online or a few print copies will be available at each campus–to serve as a daily reminder to you of this theme. Each day will offer a passage of Scripture for reflection, a quote for meditation, an exercise for your hands, a prayer prompt to follow, or a specific action step recommended. While it may be the case that some might need awareness and education about how we should share compassion for the needs of our city, it is more likely that we know exactly what needs to be done and we simply need to activate our faith with our mind, heart, soul, and our humble hands and feet.

Our dream is that as the Harris Creek family participates in Lent together through this devotional exercise over the next 46 days, we will accomplish these goals:

  • 46 people will sign up to serve as court appointed special advocates
  • 46 volunteers will become certified baby sitters or respite care providers for foster families
  • 46 kids will be welcomed into foster homes in McLennan County
  • 46 Easter baskets will be prepared for foster families in the Waco area
  • 46 rolling suitcases stuffed with clean clothes and toiletries will be donated to a local foster care agency

The final numbers are not the driving factor; the numbers—wherever we end up after Lent—signify stories of transformation for God’s family! Come, and be a part of the family!

 

 

Tweet, Facebook, or instagram your thoughts/notes to share your experience with others – use the hashtag #hclent and tag Harris Creek!

Living Water Update

9316227874_3cf9a24657_oAn Update on Living Water International (LWI)

In 2011, we announced a plan to commit a matching gift from our Global Impact budget to whatever was given by the congregation for Living Water International up to $15,000. In that first year Harris Creek was able to give $31,776. Since 2011, and including this year, we have been able to give more than $120,000 to LWI. This matching initiative has been a way of committing as a faith community to the tenets of Advent Conspiracy. Worship Fully, Give More, Spend Less, Love All. In considering all that we have been asking of one another in 2015 through the Our Turn initiative and also not wanting to pull back on generosity, your elders and staff decided to do things a bit differently this year. Because of your generosity of giving to the budget in 2015 we are so excited to have been able to give $20,000 to LWI this month. That is $5,000 more than budgeted from any single year since 2011 and a full $12,000 more than in 2014. I have had several conversation with John Nodalski from LWI in the past few months as he has expressed their gratefulness for our partnership with them to provide life-giving clean water in the name of Jesus Christ. To find out more about Living Water and Advent Conspiracy visit: www.water.cc/christmas and/or watch this short video: https://vimeo.com/48154089