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In Exile: In Conversation

Do you like a nice rhyming couplet? Then you are in a for a treat here. Buckle yourself in and grab some popcorn.

We do not teach for the sake of gathering information. We create space where we can learn for the sake of transformation.

Let me come back to that in a second but first a little bit of information about me. I love sermons. I really, really enjoy the task of both preparing and delivering a sermon. It is probably the time when I, personally, learn the most. I need to chew over a scripture or idea. I need to digest it. I need to wrestle with it. I need to find conclusions. I need to answer the questions I have...and then I need to find a way to share that all with you. I need to condense hours of preparation into about 30 mins that keeps you engaged towards the task of transformation.

We do not teach for the sake of gathering information. We create space where we can learn for the sake of transformation.

...and that's where the sermon is confronted with an uncomfortable truth. Sermons are great at passing on information. They are me talking to you. They are me sharing the thoughts I have. They are me transmitting information. They don't always leave much space for transformation. I'm sure you've sat through sermons that you thought were great and then after they've finished you forget all about what was said. A sermon can be a huge dump of information and it can be a lot to process in one sitting.

Our heart as a leadership team at the Rock is that people learn and are transformed as disciples. We are therefore asking questions about how we learn as a congregation. We, of course, are not advocating that we stop teaching people. There are truths which need to be taught. What we need to make sure is that we create space where people can learn and be transformed by these truths.

This might sound a bit like semantics. Maybe you're asking, "surely teaching and learning are just two sides of the same coin?" My reply would be kind of yes and kind of no. Teaching and learning are inextricably linked. However, there is also the possibility that we can spend a lot of time teaching or listening to teaching with very little learning happening. We can hear a lot of information but sometimes there can be very little transformation.

So, we're back at our rhyming couplet. We do not teach for the sake of gathering information. We create space where we can learn for the sake of transformation.

We want the Rock to be a place where people learn...and grow...and mature...and are transformed. On that note, we want to be intentional about making space where that can happen.

What does that mean for this series "In Exile" that the last couple of blog posts have spoken about?

That's a great question. Thanks for asking.

We want to be deliberate about learning, so, we're going to deliberately create some space where learning can happen. We're going to change the structure of our sermon series to allow a bit more space for learning. Instead of a new sermon every week we're going to take a bit more time to stop, reflect and deliberately create space to learn. We'll be working on a cycle of two weeks of sermons followed by one week of discussion on the themes from the two previous weeks. These discussions will be a way to dig a bit deeper into the subjects and to think through what the application of these truths might look like. They will be discussions in small groups and facilitated by a group of hugely gifted members of the congregation.

We'll be calling these Sundays, "In Exile: In Conversation." We'll see you there.

This blog post was brought to you by....Oli Higham

Oli Higham is part of the leadership team at the Rock Community Church. He finds it hard to sum himself up in a few sentences. However he loves Jesus and is also rather fond of his family, films, coffee, rugby, Arsenal FC, poetry, spray paint, beards, cooking and laughing.

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