In June, Monday 10th to Sunday 16th, the Exeter churches will be running Joyfest, a week-long initiative to practice spreading joy across the city. The idea is that thousands of small acts of kindness and joy will have a big impact on the city and reflect something of God’s love for the city and the people that live here.
We’ve decided that we’d like to get involved for three reasons:
1) Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit, it is good. If joy is alive and growing in our lives, then you can’t really help spread it. Developing this gift and spreading God’s joy to our friends, family and neighbours is something we’re invited to do in our daily lives. It’s what being human is all about, it’s a way of living that Jesus modelled.
2) It’s helpful to develop spiritual practices. We wouldn’t see Joyfest as a one-off week of spreading joy, and then going back to being a miserable git the rest of the year. But rather a spiritual practice, an opportunity to practice being joyful and spreading joy with others which will be a small step towards it becoming a normal way of being. A bit like being thankful, it can be really helpful to develop rhythms and practices to help us get better at this way of living.
3) This is a unique opportunity to partner with the other churches in the city. City Life Church is one small expression of the church in the city and the country. We believe that we’re part of a wider community of people that aim to live in a way that reflects Jesus. It can be easy to forget this, so Joyfest feels like a great opportunity to partner with others. A little note... Whenever a mix of church communities work together there will be little differences of language or approach, this is inevitable as we’re all distinct. These differences are a good thing and it’s healthy to work together despite them.
There are loads of different ways of expressing joy across the city. We’d see this not only as a chance to individually look for occasions to do this but also an opportunity to team up together with different people in the community to do some things together. Throw a party. Initiate a community picnic. Bake a cake for your work colleges or neighbour. Invite someone for a BBQ.
We'll be creating some spaces to dream up some ideas over the next couple of weeks.