Someone wrote to ask me, “What do other communities do during the monthly gatherings?” So, I began to wonder … what are your 4th day community gatherings like? What do you do … what activities do you use to stimulate participation, encourage growth and maintain relationship in your communities? Weekends like Tres Dias, Cursillo and Walk to Emmaus communities follow up the weekend experience with meetings referred to as Sequelas, Ultreyas and Gatherings after the three days are completed. The fourth day community is comprised of those who have experienced the life-changing spiritual renewal and refreshing resulting from the lavish love God pours out over those three days. In an effort to foster the new life resulting from the weekend it is healthy and desirable to gather in community to share with others. These larger community gatherings serve many purposes and not the least of which, is welcoming those who have just experienced a weekend into the local 4th day community, but they also help to nurture, create and strengthen relationships beyond those formed during the weekend with others who have had the same experience. These gatherings also build christian community in the same way the reunion group does but on a larger scale. It is a way for reunion groups to fellowship together to build community.
Usually, at these gatherings there is a pot luck supper, testimony, a 4th day speaker, praise and worship, communion and fellowship. It is the individual community who decides how these things go. It can be a great time of fellowship, fun and celebration. It is an exciting time especially for those who are being celebrated and welcomed into their 4th day communities for the first time, but it can also seem fairly routine to those who have experienced these gatherings many times, especially, if one didn’t serve on the last weekend being celebrated or is not part of the preparation for the next one coming up.
I think that is where the question came from that motivated me to wonder and to ask what your 4th day community gatherings were like. For example, what special activities or things do you do at your gatherings that could be helpful to a community might be struggling with low attendance. What do you do to encourage commitment and foster relationships to keep the newest members involved and desiring to serve. What does your community do increase or maintain sponsorship of new candidates?
What ideas, suggestions and insights do you have for motivating and maintaining the life of your local 4th day community and specifically, in your community gatherings? What do other communities do during Gatherings? What are the unique, life giving activities or functions in your gatherings would be helpful to other community gatherings?