Back in April a few of us headed up north — everything seems up north from Exeter — to attend the Nomad Gathering. Nomad is a podcast run my two guys called Tim and Dave, each episode they interview different authors, theologians and practitioners about community, mission and the future of the church.
I’ve been listening to it for nearly five years now and it’s had a huge impact on my theology and as a result, my walk with Jesus. It’s introduced me to a bunch of different ways of viewing God, the bible and the church and really provoked some thought around how I live and what following Jesus might look like.
The gathering was the first time they’ve organised a space where fellow listeners can get together. We headed up hoping to make some new friends, be encouraged, challenged and inspired.
All the boxes were ticked. The interviews with Tim, Dave and Mark Vernon were all really interesting and thought provoking, do have a listen. The highlight though, was chatting to a bunch of new people. I was surprised at how easy it was to talk to strangers, something I’d normally find quite intimating. This was partly as Tim and Dave did a really good job of holding spaces for us to have discussions and share our stories. But also, I think it was because there was a characteristic we all shared in common - an open posture.
This didn't mean that we all shared the same beliefs or that our theology was in line with each other. But what I mean by ‘open posture’ is that everyone there was open to the possibility that they might not have all the answers.
Their tag line of ‘a space for the less certain’ was the unifying factor. We all arrived wanting to listen and learn from each other. We were willing to share out stories and experience of church and God and we wanted to hear other peoples. I didn’t feel judged, I felt able to be honest about the ups and downs of church life and the struggles with trying to follow Jesus. It’s why we listen to the podcast, we want to hear different perspectives and be challenged.
I think this is the posture we’re punting for at City Life Church because it’s really powerful.
When we’re ok about being less certain it creates spaces where we can be really honest, where we can disagree and learn from each other. It enables us to get to the heart of our struggles and creates a culture where we can learn, it encourages us to take responsibility for our faith and what we believe.
For me, being part of a community is a crucial spiritual discipline, we need each other. In my opinion, an open posture is a core component of a healthy community and one that on your good days we hope to get close to.
I’m excited to connect with other Nomad listeners in the future, they are an awesome bunch. If you’ve not heard one of their podcasts before then check it out.