We launched Colossians this past Sunday with standing room only. Had to pull out chairs from the coffeeshop and create a new row on the fly! It’s encouraging to see people in Austin coming to worship Christ, hear the gospel preached. Now, if we can just convert them to being the church! Two things we will do to make the second gathering less of a service and more of a stepping stone into community:

  • Partner Class: I ripped “Partner” off from the Austin Stone. I avoids the Country Club, consumeristic, elistist baggage of Southern Baptist Church “Membership”, while also giving us language to redefine what it means to be Spirit-led disciples who follow Jesus. The month of October we will have a home-based, weekly partner class that clearly explains the vision and practices of Austin City Life. We will do four weeks on: Vision, Gospel, Community, Mission. There will be no certificates handed out at the end of the class. People will become partners once their City Group leader has signed off on their active participation in the City Group, proof that they are partnering with us in the gospel for the city.
  • Plant Missional Disciples: The second service will be a missional expression, forged around some of our solid, missional core people, with the aim of treating the second service/gathering as an incubator for a new church, kind of like redeveloping a core team but in reverse. This service may be different from our first service in order to accomplish that goal.

I really struggled with how to introduce Colossians. Background only? Cover 1:1-2? Which themes to address in the letter? How to prepare our people to read a first centruy letter in community without giving them a lecture in hermeneutics? How to preach the gospel while covering a lot of mundane information? If you listen to the sermon or read the manuscript, feel free to give me your thoughts. I’m pretty happy with what I came up with, but know it can be improved upon. The most encouraging thing was that I had person after person come up to me and tell me how excited they are about Colossians! In the end, my hope is that Jesus is Lord.