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The Gathering: New church formula?

 
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What do you think about utilizing "The Gathering" ideas elsewhere?
  I think it's great and can be structured to fit various cultures and communities
  I think all churches should like this!! (or very similar)
  I think it's too radical. People would be too distracted and not take it seriously.
  It's a nice idea but churches are too traditional and won't bother to change
  I'm not sure
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coolpoete
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Joined: 14 Jul 2002
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Location: From St. Maarten, living in Alabama

PostPosted: 13 Mar 2004 06:46    Post subject: The Gathering: New church formula? Reply with quote

I wanted to get your opinions on the church or fellowship that Mark has begun in Trinidad. For those of you who have not received the email update I will re-post it here. Do you think that this kind of ministry will do well out here in the states.. or even in other countries overseaseas? The pastor of my church decided to build a basketball gym first before he built the sanctuary. The focus of the church was and still is to provide a place of fellowship for the community, not so much a 'building for church-goers'. So on the weekdays it is a fully functional gymnasium (except for Bible studies and other activities) and on the Weekend they lay tarp and chairs down, retract the basketball goals and have church. (Some of you who came to the Christafari performance a few years back in Madison, AL. would know what I'm talking about.)

Anywayz, here is the email:
Quote:

Following Christafari's 2003 European tour, Mark (lead vocals) and his wife Avion (bass and vocals) followed the Lord's undeniable lead and moved to Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island country in the southeastern Caribbean. Trinidad is a very ethnically diverse land with a population that is about half Black and half East Indian, with a few Assyrians, Asians and Caucasians in the mix. After about a month in Trinidad, it became clear why God had brought them to this country. "After studying the Christian churches of Trinidad I found a major void," said Mark. "While many churches may have good youth groups, when a teenager finishes secondary school (high school), he/she is stuck with two choices: become a youth leader, or attend their church's general service which can be tough for a 17 year old teen who watches more BET than TBN. With the average age of many congregations around 45 (and the pastor may be even older), these youths are found searching for a message with relevance. There are some g
reat youth events and concerts held for college age singles, but many churches in Trinidad and Tobago have a void in Christian education for those aged 16-32."

After this realization and much prayer, the Mohrs set out to plant "The Gathering"--what many today would label a post-modern church. They don't actually call it a church, because the church is the body of Christ--people not buildings. The word "church" can also have a negative stigma for both the un-churched and Christians alike, keeping them from attending and hearing the Word of God. The Gathering is redefining the Christian church for today's young adults in Trinidad and Tobago. "It's kind of a Church 2.0," says Mohr. "Before starting The Gathering, I studied the Gospels, the book of Acts, and the Epistles. Comparing that Biblical church model to the typical church of today, it didn't take long to realize most of today's churches carry a lot of excess baggage, jam packed with empty traditions, and a vibrant alternative was needed. The Gathering is founded on four key pillars: Worship, Instruction, Fellowship and Evangelism (W.I.F.E.).

Climbing the stairs to the Gathering, which meets on Mondays (not Sundays) at 7:50pm in the bustling and sleepless city of St. James, one quickly realizes it's not a typical Trinidadian church. As sang by Mohr and Sherwin Gardner in a dancehall commercial created for radio in promotion of The Gathering; There are no pews, no pulpit, no steeple--this is just a simple gathering of the people. There are a few chairs in the back, but most attendees recline on a couch, or on a pillow. A pillow? "That's right, think about it," says Mohr. "When I am at home about ready to watch a great movie, or my favorite TV show, where do I sit? I choose the most comfortable spot in my house, the couch. In the same way, why shouldn't we be comfortable when we worship?" In lieu of pews, Avion sewed large Jamoo mats and about 100 custom made pillows.

There is no dress code at The Gathering. In fact, Pastor Mohr (though he prefers it if you just call him Mark), arrives in shorts and a t-shirt, delivering messages that are conservative in doctrine, yet dynamic in delivery, utilizing relevant analogies and a plethora of props to accentuate his points. "Different people have different learning styles, so in my expository teaching I use parables, analogies and a lot of visual examples. I often start off messages with a clip from a popular movie like 'Lord of the Rings' or 'The Matrix' and always end with an opportunity for the audience to personally apply what they have learned," says Mohr. "While many pastors in Trinidad will literally yell at their congregation for hours on end, I limit my messages to 45 minutes and try to use different dynamics in my speech. I talk to the congregation as I would to a close friend." With the lights dimmed and the candles lit, every attendee is meant to feel welcome and at home--and they do.

Each Monday night, the event is kicked off with a DJ spinning the best of today's gospel reggae while the people gather. Next is a mixer--a time for the people to mingle, asking each other one assigned question. The answer to this question is always addressed later in the message. The mixer is followed by a time of musical worship The Gathering calls "soul-lifting intimate acoustic songs." "It is more like MTV Unplugged than Hillsong," says Mohr. "We rotate worship leaders weekly and each one is a well-known Caribbean gospel artist. Their God-directed songs are becoming the praise and worship standards of this generation in Trinidad. I strongly encourage the artists to use their own material and possibly a few other Caribbean praise songs. I also discourage them from using American or western songs. I believe a significant problem with the churches here is so many of them have been robbed of their own culture by missionaries who instituted the western music

they were accustomed to for praise & worship. Rather than have The Gathering imitate what is going on in America, I want to bring Trinidadian culture back into the church and make it a 'Trini ting!' As another key element in accomplishing that objective, I'm building up a Trinidadian leadership team and eventually phasing myself out. We already have several strong native teachers in position who can lead when I'm out on the road ministering with Christafari."

At each Gathering we introduce a special guest artist for what we call the "six-pack." In the six-pack segment, we ask the guest artist six personal questions in a late-night talk show format. This intimate discussion gives the audience a glimpse of the artist's heart and passion for the Lord. In the six-pack, the sixth question is always, "so tell us about the song you are going to sing for us." The music that follows varies weekly from reggae to dancehall, hip hop, soca, calypso, jamoo or even alternative. Pastor Mark's message is usually tied into the subject of the guest artist's song. The message is followed by a time of prayer and a song by both the guest artist and the worship leader. Finally, The Gathering concludes with fellowship, but this after-church fellowship is like no other. Food, snacks and drinks are available, and the DJ starts spinning the slammin' reggae tunes once again. The pillows and mats are cleared out to make way for the pool tables, foosball, air hockey and arcade g
ames. "It is amazing. An hour after the service, half the people are still there talking and hanging out. This is after-church fellowship at it's best!" says Mohr.

"I am not against the churches of Trinidad and Tobago. I believe the churches here work for those who are already attending. The problem is most churches are allergic to the word 'change' yet there is a spiritually malnourished generation being fed primarily by a consistent diet of movies, media and music. We aren't effectively reaching the lost. My studies at BIOLA University and my background of musical ministry with Christafari have prepared me to reach this demographic group through these mediums," said Mohr. What started in early November of 2003 has already grown to as many as 100 attending The Gathering. Plans are underway to start another Gathering in the southern part of the island and then possibly Tobago and other Caribbean islands. The Mohrs and The Gathering are under the covering of Sanctuary International and The Sowers International missions organization. They are supported entirely by the one-time and monthly love offerings from those who believe in their ministry. If you are
interested in supporting this vision please e-mail: mark@christafari.com


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Jah Pickney
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Joined: 16 Nov 2001
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Location: Canada

PostPosted: 13 Mar 2004 15:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is actually a vision that Mark originally had for in Jamaica. Long time now Mark has dreamed about "Jah Yard" in Jamaica, which pretty much had the same format and idea as "The Gathering." It is great to see yet another one of his visions coming to life. God had a different place for the place of origin but I think Mark is still planning to bring it to Jamaica as well.
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MarkMohr
Current Christafari Band Member


Joined: 28 Nov 2001
Posts: 122
Location: LA, CA, USA

PostPosted: 14 Mar 2004 01:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah Tim, the initial vision started with Jah Yard in JA, but since then as you can read it has developed significantly. I am already talking with people in Barbados and Antigua about the possibility of starting one on each island. We are also working this month on starting another one in South or Central Trinidad. Pray for us and for leaders. It is exciting, for 15 years I have been a part of getting Christian reggae to the Caribbean, now I am on the other side of the ministry also, helping build congregations that are doctrinally sound and culturally relevant. As this grows, I do hope to take this concept to Jamaica, but I want to build strong Gatherings in other Islands first and then have the leaders of these churches be intrical in the Jamaican plant. This would be far more accepted if it was a Caribbean thing and not a white Mark Mohr thing seen? Jamaica's tempermantal like that.
Blessings
mark
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Jah Pickney
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PostPosted: 14 Mar 2004 16:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seen! I would love to be apart of this ministry so much.
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MarkMohr
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PostPosted: 14 Mar 2004 19:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds Great Tim! You should raise some missions support and come down and visit us in Trini some time soon!
Mark
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Abishai



Joined: 13 Nov 2001
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Location: At the moment...Springfield MO

PostPosted: 16 Mar 2004 21:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think its great but I dont believe the same format will work universaly. To be effective in the mission field you cannot drag your culture to them but adapt to their culture and then share the Gospel in a way most relivent to them. I think the same thing needs to happen stateside. As churches we're caught up in tradition in the way things 'should' be. Im not against tradition but if it interferes with the furtherance of the Gospel and the church body then it has to go. Its great to get successful ideas that other church bodies are using, just be wary of things that arent biblical and dont fit the cultural makeup of your church(i love reggae but i dont think it would fit well in a midwest church where the average age is 60).
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christ-warrior
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PostPosted: 20 Mar 2004 18:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

All that matters (not that nothing else matter in what they do) is what is getting preached. If it's good word, it's great. If not, it's not. But thru listening to Christafari's CD's, i'm sure it's good.
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SilentFire2581
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Location: Trinidad

PostPosted: 20 Mar 2004 19:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I real like this idea, the gathering seems ligit. However I must admit that if not structered properly then there could just be a care free attitude in God's pressence.

Now I don't have a problem of the the idea, but something was mentioned in the Quote, that most taditional churches are allergic to change.....that is something that I totally disagree with. Reason well lets look at it from a personal point of view. Most people change, however they change at different times. If people all changed at the same time, going through the same phases we would have a major problem. Like wise institutions dedicatd for spiritual upliftment. THEY ALL CHANGE, and are NOT ALLERGIC TO IT since they all change at different times. Some fast some slow, but they change. This helps to keep the balance.

Also with change, we must be careful what we change. The old people always say careful when you throwing out the bath tub, you don't throw out the baby-cause with changing you could also discard some good things...for example the atmosphere where everyone dress up in their best clothes,with worship music playing softly(no matter if the songs are not from our culture) sets a mood and an atmosphere which I have seen break down people(saved and unsaved) and it easily allows them to pour out to the Holy Spirit ,and yes there are certain things tradionally churches do that would seem as though they are stuck in a time warp, but believe me brother they affect people.

I am young(not even twenty) and I surrendered my whole heart to the lord and believe me brethren I am not void...also we recently received two new youths into our assembly(one 14 the other 24) and they are on fire for the lord and I know they don't feel void of anything.

What we must realise is that each person has to make that choice to serve God whole heartly.No matter how their church is structered. I have personally taken it apon my self to stop watching certain music videos(like on BET and MTV) that have no spiritual upliftment(like 50 cents e.t.c) Nobody told me to do that but I made that choice. Now even if I attend a church which is really cool and casual, banging out hardcore gospel reggae...plus my Pastor is a Ras(wow....that would be really cool) but that wouldn't make me stop sin or even stop watching or listening spiritually unhealthy music e.t.c cause I gotta make that choice for myself.

Even if I was an unsave now joining church(let's say I was a real partier, love to fete and is rum till I die) and I got saved, and God placed me in a church which to me is boring and dry, where they say I can't grow my hair, can't take tattoos, and is only hymns we singing....because of my love for God and me understanding that walking for him(even though at times may not seem cool-in the young people sense of the word) gives me no right to slack off on my christian walk.

Now brethren that's just my...now here what I'm saying eh..my point of view. To eveything there are many ways to seeing it so I had to show this aspect. Hopefully Mr Mohr would cater for the south people and open one down here( I think he mentioned dat) so we could experience the difference) Cause u see the way how things are these days and plus me and me crew would have to travel on that road that hour of the night...nah we have to play it safe

Eh bless up Mark Mohr and family

Laterz
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