Being part of a church is all about connecting…connecting with God, connecting with others, even connecting to ourselves! During this season of wearing masks and staying at least 6-feet away from others, we can still support and encourage one another. We connect by sharing the mundane things of our lives; we read the Bible and look for ways to apply it; we sing songs to God and sense – at least sometimes – that he hears us; we pray for one another and know that we are not alone…that people care about us…that Jesus cares about us. These connections give us strength to face the challenges we encounter each day.
As we all wait for the COVID-19 global pandemic to subside, El Camino Vineyard Church will continue to “gather virtually” for conversation, Bible reading/reflection, and prayer. We would love to have you join us Sunday mornings at 10am for our virtual gathering. For more information and a virtual gathering link, please email Randy Chase.
When we could meet in person, our gatherings began with breakfast. We would reconnect after our busy week and catch-up with each other while enjoying a meal. Now that we are meeting virtually, we have to bring our own coffee (!), but we still begin our gatherings catching-up with one another.
After reconnecting with each other, we read from the Bible. We typically go through an Old Testament or New Testament book, chapter by chapter. The continuity helps understand the larger story that is being told in the text. After our reading, we have a
If you've been to church, this part of our Sunday gathering would probably be very different from what you have experienced before. Most churches have a sermon that lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. After listening to a lot of pastoral monologues, we decided we were ready for something different. While many churchgoers really enjoy sitting and listening to a teaching, others would prefer to have
a conversation where they interact with one another, share their experiences, insights, ask questions, and look for ways to apply what they’ve learned to their lives.
After our conversation, we worship God singing songs that have lyrics that are like prayers set to music. We close our time together praying for whatever challenge or need we might have. Our meetings typically last an hour and fifteen minutes.
Blessed to be Blessed
In the Bible, there is a famous character in the Old Testament. His name was Abraham and he was known as the friend of God. In one of the conversations between God and Abraham, God tells him, "I will bless you...and you will be a blessing to others." (Genesis 12:2) We believe that God has blessed us so that we, too, might be a blessing to others. To that end, we participate in different activities designed to help others. For example, we have helped send a trainer to Haiti to help Haitians develop their job skills; distributed bicycles to people who lost everything in the Santa Rosa fires; send people and finances to help develop caring Christian communities in Spain; provided financial assistance to a home for people with disabilities and lunches to school children during the summer.
We encourage people to develop their interests and pursue their passions. Someone in El Camino enjoys running and wanted to invite others to join her...so,,,she started a running club. It began with just 2 or 3 people jogging on Saturday mornings. Today, the club has runs practically every day of the week, with dozens of people participating. If you would like more info, check-out the Meet-Up: Run Club. (Note: The Run Club has recently re-opened many of their runs after having stopped them due to the pandemic.)
El Camino Vineyard Church is part of the Vineyard family of churches. For more info, go to: Vineyard USA
Articles of Interest
Here's a place where we will add articles of interest, opportunities to serve, workshops, book studies, etc...
Why go to church?
I'm a busy guy. I'm a husband, father, grandfather, son and friend. I train for triathlons. Oh yeah, and I work too! (*I'm a full-time teacher in a local public school and part-time pastor of a small neighborhood church.) Believe me when I say that I'm not going to go to church if it isn't worth my time, nor do I want to lead something that I think isn't adding value to the lives of others - both the church members as well as the people we want to help locally (lunches for school children during the summer months), nationally (California wildfires, Louisiana flood victims) and globally (partnering to establish new churches in Spain and Portugal), for example.
What if participating in a church community actually made your life better? What if going to church helped you reorganize your life in such a way that it was less harried and more focused? What if you found yourself now able to make even more of a difference in the lives of the people you care about?
When we think about “going to church”, we have to remember that church isn't a place you go to, nor a meeting you attend. It is a community you participate in. Church meetings aren't where life occurs, but where we are encouraged and strengthened to go out and embody our beliefs by being a blessing to the people we interact with at work, in our neighborhoods, and in all the places that we frequent. For me that would include local coffee shops like Red Rock, Philz', and Maison Alyzée, as well as our run club - Mountain View Area Run Club (MVARC on Meetup).
I like this quote: "Christianity - following Jesus - is not lived, is not fully expressed, within the walls of the church building but in the routines of daily life...Our current, real lives - no matter what they are - are the place we practice our spirituality, where we are the church. We don't need to add a bunch of religious stuff to an already full life in order to be the church or to please God." (Todd Hunter’s "Christianity Beyond Belief: Following Jesus for the Sake of Others", p.67.)
I wonder what the world would look like if Christians stopped filling their lives with more and more church meetings - spending almost every waking moment in church-related activities - and started living-out their spirituality "in the routines of daily life"?