One of the real privileges of the work that I get to do is that I hang out regularly with different church communities around the world. I always learn something in these different communities, regardless of where I go, and I always walk away with insights on things that the community in question does well, which are therefore elements worthy of imitation in other contexts. I write these all down on my phone when I notice them, and so I thought (probably incorrectly) that they may be interesting to one or two of you who are pursuing the never ending quest of patiently shaping and growing a community of sinners made saints.
To be fair, these insights are usually only based on Sunday gatherings and so they aren’t exhaustive in any way, but you can get a real feel for what a place values in the experience of its meetings together. I will limit the number of observations to three, and will limit the scope to positives. This doesn’t mean I would agree with everything in all of these churches, but it is important to cheer one another on in the Kingdom sometimes, isn’t it?
Here are three incredibly positive things I noticed at a recent gathering with my friends at LINC Church in KZN. There is a lot of hype and excitement around this rapidly growing church on the North Coast led by Dylan and Tess Jahnig. It was good to be with them and to see some of the real substance behind the growth.
They Bleed Faith, Hope, Optimism and Zeal
Sometimes it feels like those of us in the Reformed camp have lost a lot of our joy, which actually makes no sense if you really believe the doctrines of grace. But, perhaps in an effort to combat one-inch deep, smiley, God always just gives you everything you want, prosperity silliness, we have – at times – become (or at least appeared to become) joyless, cynical, pessimistic grumps. The guys at LINC shook that out of me. They have fun, they believe big, they rejoice well. I learned a lot from them in this space.
They are Servant-Hearted
The servant culture amongst the staff and volunteers is amazing at LINC. So much so, that I would recommend that people in volunteer leadership roles in other churches go and study some of their methods. From the second that I walked onto campus, I was aware of an army of volunteers doing all they could to welcome people and to engage them with the joy of the gospel. They set up, served well, prayed for and with people and then stayed to clean up long after everyone else had left. Well done guys.
They Value Beauty and Creativity
In a world full of the ugliness of sin, true beauty is something that Christians should love and value. LINC values this highly and it rings through in everything that they do. Their social media presence is excellent, their campus is beautifully done, and their services have an emphasis on visual aesthetic. I know that this won’t be many churches cup of tea, but these guys do it well and it is effective.
If you find yourself on the KZN North Coast some time soon and you need a bit of a Vitamin B shot of faith, then pop in and visit the guys at LINC.