The past three weeks have been amazing. They have flown by in a grace filled whirlwind. I have set up tons of chairs, become very familiar with Google Docs & Evernote, and have eaten a ton of tacos. You guys probably think I’m kidding about this taco thing by now…I’m not.
Really though, I have been learning so many things and have had the opportunity to serve and lead in many ways. I want to share as much as I can with you all. But first, who is up for a lesson in intentional language within church culture? Ok, even if you aren’t exactly interested in this, what I’m about to say may be helpful.
Here is an actual sentence I may have said since moving here.
“I attend STJ and so does the rest of my MC. My MC meets on Tuesday nights but our LTG is on different days. At LTG we use the REAP method. We also use this method during MWDP.”
At the Austin Stone, we love using acronyms, abbreviations, & initials to simplify our lives. For those not familiar with these terms it can be so confusing, but I promise it’s helpful. I’m sure I’ll be using these terms some time so I’ll explain here.
- STJ stands for St. John’s, which is a campus at the Austin Stone, named after the neighborhood where it meets. This is the campus where I attend, lead, and serve.
- MC stands for Missional Community. An MC is a very intentional name for small group with the distinct purpose of gathering for the sake of the mission of Jesus where then good community happens naturally, instead of gathering for the sake of community and hoping that mission just happens.
- LTG stands for Life Transformation Group. LTGs are where the magic of discipleship really happens. Check out this document to give you a better idea of the flow of an LTG. I meet weekly with at least one other dude over some coffee.
- REAP stands for Read, Examine, Apply, Pray. REAP is a method of studying the scriptures. It has been super helpful to me since being here. I use it in personal settings and even whole groups, bands, and teams REAP together. To learn how to REAP and see an example of REAP, check this out.
- MWDP stands for Mens and Women’s Development Program. MWDP is the development program that all interns and residents go through for two semesters. It is an amazing opportunity to grow in faith. Anyone can sign up to be a part of the program. To learn more go to their website.
All of that explanation to say, I have been attending the amazing St. John’s campus (the Stone currently has 5). St. Johns is right in the heart of Austin. It is between Downtown and North, right off of I-35. We meet for worship in the For The City Center (FTCC – another set of initials!). There are a ton of cool stories about St. Johns and the FTCC and how they came to be, I hope I can share more later. They have two morning services and one evening service. The Stone KIDS meets at all three, but STUDENTS only meet at the 11:15am service.
I have the awesome honor and responsibility of leading worship for the STJ Students. I led for the first time there, with just a guitar, this last Sunday. I am trying to build a band to play with me. There is no shortage of musicians in Austin, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.
On Saturday evenings we set up for Downtown Campus’ Sunday morning services at Austin High School. It is truly amazing to see that gym transformed every week into a place were so many come to worship Jesus. Through the setting up on Saturday and the tearing down on Sunday night, we are learning some things about production including: environments, lighting, stage, audio, event flow, etc. These are all skills we can take with us to another church when we are sent off in a couple of years. It is also a way to serve the church humbly with no recognition. Everything we do here is out of a genuine love for Jesus and a deep care for others, which drives us to create distraction-free environments to worship Him.
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