At The166, we are attempting to re-imagine what a local church can look like as we live in a culture dominated by consumerism and entertainment. Since we experience the challenges in fighting the drift of consumerism in NYC, we have designed a 3-part rhythm for our Thursday gatherings. Our hope is to place our energy and focus into practices that will form us into the image of Christ and empower us to follow the way of Jesus during the remaining 166 hours of our week. We understand that this model presents as a bit unconventional, but we are hoping to create a sacred space so that you can engage your faith, engage with God and engage with others.
When we gather on any given Thursday night, we rotate through these different formats each week for the purpose of “equipping the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12):
GROUP LECTIO DIVINA
Lectio Divina is a Latin word for "divine reading" and it is a Benedictine practice of Scripture reading, meditation and prayer. The Bible is a complex document. Some read it as history, others as philosophy, and others as a guide to navigate life. We embrace all three approaches, but Lectio Divina is distinct in that it treats the Bible as the Living Word. We do this formational practice together with one person facilitating and everyone else participating. We believe that as we collectively come under the authority of Scripture, we are formed into the image of Jesus.
After 40 minutes of Lectio Divina, we proceed to corporate worship in song and lead into Spirit-led ministry time. Ministry time is a space where we collectively seek the voice of God and act on it accordingly. We fully embrace the Vineyard value that "everyone gets to play", which means that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is not set apart for the few, but it is accessible to anyone who follows the way of Jesus. Ministry time may take the form of a prophetic word for an individual (or the community), prayer for someone in need of healing, impartation of gifts, or some other response to what the Lord has initiated.
On the second week, we provide biblical teaching that is led by a rotation of gifted teachers. Depending on the topic, a teaching may be followed by some form of group activation, reflection or ministry. If someone were to teach on the spiritual gifts, that would be followed by "clinic time" or a demonstration that allows people to see the teaching in action. Similarly, a teaching on biblical generosity might be followed by a set of questions or an exercise that allows the room to wrestle with the substance of what was communicated. After the teaching, we conclude with worship and/or ministry time similar to what is described above.
PROPHETIC ENCOUNTER NIGHTS
During the third week, we gather together to be equipped and activated in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We desire to be a church that develops into a prophetic community where everyone can operate in the gifts of the Spirit. Because we believe in the Vineyard value that “faith is spelled R-I-S-K,” we have created a safe environment for people to take some risk to practice and to try humbly and honestly. These evenings start off with worship, followed by a teaching and then group activations that involve gentle but fun exercises so that people can step out in faith and learn to give a prophetic word, share a vision, or pray for healing.
Through this 3-part rhythm, we seek the “radical middle” by upholding the tension of both Scripture and the Holy Spirit, the contemplative and the charismatic,
the “already and not yet.”