2/8/14

CURB CUTS AND CHURCH SOCIAL SKILLS

Whether you are pushing a stroller, riding a bicycle, or moving yourself along in a wheel chair, curb cuts benefit you.  You may be unfamiliar with the technical term, but a "curb cut" is a familiar and favored feature of the modern sidewalk.  People of all mobility levels appreciate curb cuts. They are a good example of universal design, or inclusive design.

Here is a question: would Emmaus Road benefit from social skill curb cuts? Could there be such a thing as relational ramps in our church's social design structure, to empower individuals with varying degrees of social skills to interact and find the spiritual encouragement and accountability we all need within the body of Christ?

For more on this topic, check out the post RETHINKING THE CHURCH'S SOCIAL PRACTICES.




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The Emmaus Road Story

In the winter of 1997, we began as a small team of about 10 people, committed to gathering and growing a church that would connect with others like ourselves; people interested in connecting with God, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, but disconnected from the activity of many mainstream congregations. With the financial support of a larger church organization, our pastor was able to work full time with the team in planning, leadership development, and meeting people in the community.

Our first meetings were open discussion forums. We talked about prayer, scripture, spiritual discipline and the issues with which we all struggle. As friends talked to friends, the first group expanded and we multiplied into two.

Inspired by the journey process as a metaphor for spiritual growth, we searched for a name which would reflect that idea. In the resurrection narrative of Luke 24, we found our name "on the road to Emmaus."

After our first worship event on Good Friday of 1997, both groups began to gather together for worship once a month. In various coffee shops and rental spaces, we gradually increased our worship times to twice a month, and in September of 1998 we decided to gather every Sunday. Since the beginning, numerical growth has been gradual but steady, most often through the personal contact of friends talking to friends.

Today, several small groups continue to meet for open discussions on prayer, scripture, and the process of encountering God in daily life; we all gather for worship each week.