Our final space for discussion is public space. Public space is when the numbers are greater than 70 at any given event or gathered population. Jesus served the public space by ministering to the crowds: the feeding of the 4000 and the Sermon on the Mount as examples. The crucial aspects of the public space are inspiration, movementum, and preaching.[i]
For us, the public space most concerned with discipleship is the corporate worship gathering. Note my inclusion of the word “corporate” because it should be clear by now that our work in each of the other spaces are acts of worship in themselves. They all point to and give praise to God. Yet, it is the large corporate gathering in question here where there is singing, prayer, and preaching present for a single body of believers.
These gatherings should offer us inspiration. One of my favorite days each quarter is our “all staff” meetings. If you realized how much I hated meetings, then that statement would shock you. However, as I look out at all of the vocational ministers who do the work of nurturing the body of Christ, it is humbling. I am one small part of a massive organism that synchronizes together perfectly, most of the time, to make God’s name known to those who haven’t heard. I see us on mission together and it is extremely motivating. Our corporate gatherings function that way as well.
The word movementum attempts to highlight both movement and momentum. The point is to understand how our activity on this local level both contributes and is a part of the global and eternal kingdom of God. We gain perspective through stories of God’s work of how we can and should be a part of it which results in even more glory and worship toward God for His pervasive goodness.
Preaching brings the Word of God to us for our moment in time. It provides the foundation for what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how we will continue to do it. Certainly, we deepen that foundation in our group time as we are able to dig deeper in the Word and apply it to a smaller population, but with that depth comes a potential for disconnectedness to the larger body. We must be ever on guard against that isolationism.
How then can we as group leaders leverage the public space of corporate worship? First, we reinforce the three outcomes of that space: inspiration, movementum, and preaching. We continually cast the vision for our group members of their calling within the larger body of BBC and the even larger body of God’s global and eternal kingdom. Second, we can deepen the sermon by utilizing sermon-based curriculum. This curriculum allows for a further exegesis and exposition of the preaching teams message to the body. Third, we encourage our group members to participate in corporate worship to that they maintain the perspective of themselves as part of a family. We are not “in it alone,” and corporate worship can remind us of that truth.