What we’ve learned from previous locations

In light of the transition to our own full-time location I thought it might be a good idea to explore how we will try to maintain the things that we have learned about ourselves throughout our journey as the Exchange.

What We Learned From Meeting in a Theater

Teaching: One thing I have taken away from our experience at the theater is that we do like having a structured time of teaching both for the adults and the children.

Children: Separating the children for a portion of the service is challenging for a small church but has huge benefits for both the children and their parents.

Space: There are a number of issues here. A larger space made us feel more separated when we gathered with people we knew best. Also, the separation between fellowship and service time really didn’t fit us. Having to transition to “spiritual time” just felt unnatural whereas a more homogeneous gathering just feels right.

Another issue with the theater was anything we did we had to set-up and tear-down each week. This prevented us from being able to capture our own personal style.

What We Learning From Meeting in a House

Teaching: We really enjoyed the hearing from everyone that our discussion based teaching time afforded. There is so much wisdom and passion in each and every one of us that sometimes goes untapped. Sometimes that worked against us and it was hard to keep any focus and so some discussion would get derailed.

Children: We loved having the children as part of our gathering time. We are a family of families and everyone being together enhanced that value. It definitely had it’s challenges as well.

Young children have a hard time behaving during extended adult discussion and that makes their parents uneasy because they feel they are inconveniencing everyone else. These parents also can’t enjoy the discussion as much because they are having to keep the kids out of trouble.

Finally. these are some topics that can’t be comfortable discussed with younger children present and that can stifle conversation some.

Space: It’s small and because it’s someone’s home it doesn’t really allow for personalization of the community. I would also assume that it’s also very invasive and taxing on the person who owns the home.

The fact that its small isn’t an entirely bad thing. Too small can be a problem but just the right size small foster interactions between individuals who might not have had them before. Our house experience did that for us. Also, being in a smaller place allows the space to not feel empty. I’m now of the opinion that there is a correct size for us at each stage of our growth and that too small or even too big will affect us adversely.

So these are the things that I think we have taken away from our last two locations. In my next post I’ll share a preliminary plan to maintain the things that we loved about these experiences while minimizes the challenges we have discovered.

Until then, am I missing anything? What else have we learned from meeting at these two very different locations?