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. We see the challenges in fighting the drift of consumerism in NYC and so we have designed a 3-part rhythm for our 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. When we gather, we take one topic and focus on it for three weeks so that we can go deep and invite God into the slow and steady process of transformation. We rotate through these different formats each week:
1. 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 in a circle 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 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.
2. Teaching. 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 or reflection. 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 ministry time similar to what is described above.
3. Workshop Groups. During the third week, we break up into groups of 7-10 people to reflect and discuss questions based on what was presented in the prior weeks. These groups are safe environments to ask honest questions, share curiosities and even resistances. After a time of discussion, the second half is spent praying and ministering to each other. Workshop Groups are an excellent way to be activated in the gifts of the Spirit and to practice hearing from God in a way that balances the Word and Spirit. Thus if there was a teaching on the gift of prophecy, we would spend time receiving prophetic words for one another and debriefing on the experience afterward. Or perhaps if we are in a series on spiritual formation, we might spend time reflecting on and designing a rule of life together.
We maintain a sense of continuity across the three types of gatherings - so what we receive from Lectio Divina is related to the Teaching, which is in turn connected with the Workshop Groups.