by Mike DePope on July 30th, 2021
Dear Gathering,As a parent of three kids, August always marks a shift in seasons. Summertime is still here, but school is around the corner. The heat is wearing on me (especially as I write this), and I am ready for something new. Spiritually, something similar is true. I have been away for a few weeks now, taking a small sabbatical to rest, reflect, and reconnect with God and my family. It was gr...
CoreGroup Leader Role
by Denee Bowers on July 28th, 2021
CoreGroup leaders create space for and facilitate meaningful conversations in a safe and welcoming environment where people are inspired to grow in their relationships with Jesus and others.Ideally, all group members will be helping each other grow and take spiritual next steps. Your role as the host is to build that expectation into your group and then encourage the fulfillment of it. At the end ...
by Mike DePope on July 24th, 2021
Dear Gathering,I am taking a moment during my time away to write to you. I love my work at the church, so I do not naturally take a lot of time off. But, these last few weeks have given me a chance to rest, connect with my family, and reflect on the incredible work that lies ahead for The Gathering. I have enjoyed the chance to participate in worship and experience how powerful Get Up has been. If...
by Mike DePope on July 2nd, 2021
There is no question that the past year has been a challenging one. But, it has also been an energizing one for me. Ironically, when everything you normally do is taken away, you have to be creative. When the way you do things is restricted, you must imagine new ways of doing things. Crisis breeds creativity. When normal is disrupted, there is new permission to think, rethink, and experiment with ...
by Mike DePope on June 25th, 2021
Part of The Gathering’s vision is to create a Christian community for new generations. This means that we want to be a community that invites kids into the faith, forms students in faith, and creatively engages college students and younger adults to follow God’s call in their own life. As part of this vision, we strive to inspire and equip younger people to be leaders in the church. One of the mos...
by Mike DePope on June 18th, 2021
On June 19th, 1865, Union troops rolled into Galveston, TX. Even though General Lee and the Confederates had surrendered months before this, there were pockets of ongoing resistance, including in Texas. That day, General Order No. 3 was read to the people of Texas including the proclamation that, “all slaves are free”. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation two and half years prior ...
by Mike DePope on June 11th, 2021
As kids, most of us played some version of hide-and-seek. Some of you were good at hiding, always trying to find a creative place where no one would think of looking. At first, it can be kind of fun when the “seeker” is looking all over the place and cannot seem to find you. But, did you ever hide so well that eventually it was no longer fun. Maybe you were in an awkward position and you would sta...
Commit // M-Note 6.4.2021
by Mike DePope on June 4th, 2021
“Jesus didn’t have members, so why do churches?” I remember showing up to pastor my first church (in my early twenties) and someone asked me this question. A debate was going on in the church about membership. Should a church have members? It makes the church sound like a country club, where there are insiders and outsiders, those with special privileges, and those without them. One of my first jo...
An Open Invitation // M-Note 5.28.2021
by Mike DePope on May 28th, 2021
I love to ask new people, “How did you find The Gathering?” This past week at NEXT (our monthly event for people to learn more about the church), I asked just that. One young woman who moved to St. Louis just last week was there and told me her story. She lived in Alabama and struggled to ever connect with a church that felt like home. Her mother, who also lives in a very small town in southern Mi...
A Little Grace Goes A Long Way // M-Note 5.21.21
by Amy Sanders on May 21st, 2021
This past week has felt strange for me. With new CDC guidelines, every place I go I am wondering what I should be doing. In most settings, I have been wearing my mask, partly out of habit, and partly out of a sense of hospitality to those around me. It isn’t always clear what to do in each setting I am in. All of us are going through this right now. Trying to figure out what we should do, what we ...
COVID Protocol Update // M-Note 5.18.21
by Amy Sanders on May 18th, 2021
Last week, the CDC released updated guidelines for fully-vaccinated people which no longer require masks or social distancing (except in certain situations). This was prompted by evolving scientific evidence that fully-vaccinated people are at minimal risk of infection or transmission of the virus. In response to this news, St. Louis City and County also dropped local mask and social distancing re...
Kids Ministry Expands // M-Note 5.14.2021
by Mike DePope on May 14th, 2021
In 4th grade, I had a Sunday School teacher named Ms. Novak. The church in which I grew up predated the Civil War, and the small upper room that we met in looked like it. Old, a bit spooky, and not much larger than a closet – but every Sunday, Ms. Novak would make it come alive. She taught us stories of scripture but not simply by reading off a page. When we studied Moses on Mt. Sinai, she provide...
A Day for Mothers // M-Note 5.7.2021
by Mike DePope on May 7th, 2021
Sunday is Mother’s Day, so I thought I would give you a little history on this holiday (one that started, believe it or not, in a Methodist Church!).In 1908, Anna Jarvis coordinated the first Mother’s Day celebration at a local Methodist Church in West Virginia. She originally thought of the idea as a way to honor her own mother who had died a few years earlier. Soon she decided that honoring moth...
Come Just as You Are // M-Note 4.30.2021
by Mike DePope on April 30th, 2021
Every month, The Gathering hosts NEXT. NEXT is an evening designed to help new people connect to our church and for existing people to take a new step in their faith. It also gives me a chance to share the story of The Gathering, how it started, and most importantly why. I know this story better than anyone, and yet hearing the origin story month after month still inspires me. I need to be reminde...
Accountability, Not Justice // M-Note 4.23.2021
by Mike DePope on April 23rd, 2021
“This is accountability, not justice” In one form or another, this quote was spoken by many politicians, leaders, and activists following the guilty verdict on Tuesday in the Derek Chauvin trial. The Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison explained by adding, “I would not call today’s verdict justice, however, because justice implies true restoration”. This quote captures the tension in what hap...
Something Worth Celebrating // M-Note 4.16.2021
by Mike DePope on April 16th, 2021
April 16, 2021I am a big believer in celebrating wins in our life. We are often moving so fast that we don’t take time to stop, look around, express gratitude, and celebrate what is good. There is a lot to celebrate at The Gathering right now. On Easter, we celebrated Jesus’ victory over death and the new life that it brings. Last week, The Gathering got to experience the beginning of a new season...
New Beginnings // M-Note 4.10.2021
by Dave Merrill on April 10th, 2021
Easter always has me thinking about beginnings and endings. You’ve heard the now cliché, “when one door closes another one opens”. It may be overused, but it is the essence of Easter. That the death of something can lead to something powerfully new. Jesus put it this way: I assure you that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears...
Good Friday // M-Note 4.2.2021
by Amy Sanders on April 2nd, 2021
God can wring life from even the darkest tomb. It is strange to call a day when Jesus died good. But, today is Good Friday. Why? Because through Jesus’ unjust suffering and death, God began a work of forgiveness, reconciliation, and redemption for all of us. Easter stands as the ultimate example of God’s power. Jesus’ resurrection declares to the creation that while death is real, it isn’t final. ...
by Denee Bowers on April 1st, 2021
Thursday, April1Mark 14:12-72I distinctly remember the last carefree meal I had before the heaviness of COVID hit. After an incredible week in Mozambique, our team from The Gathering took a day to process our experiences on the Island of Mozambique. Though we had seen the headlines declaring a global pandemic, the gravity of the situation and its life-changing implications hadn’t yet settled in. T...
by Denee Bowers on March 31st, 2021
Wednesday, March 31Mark 14:3-11We are getting closer to the cross, friends.In 1999 I preached my first sermon. I did not know the full weight nor joy of being a woman in ministry. Today I am honored to serve in the line of women who’ve gone before me. Even, this unnamed woman who anoints Jesus. She is unnamed like too many women in scripture, however she performs a meaningful act. Blessing Jesus ...
by Denee Bowers on March 30th, 2021
Tuesday, March 30Luke 21, 22:1-2Have you ever gotten to the end of a long conversation and realized that you could go on for hours more but you’ve unfortunately only got 5 more minutes before you have to walk into the dentist’s office? Maybe that’s a little too specific, but you catch my drift. This happens to me all the time. I get into a good chat or a good meeting, the flow is natural, then all...
by Denee Bowers on March 29th, 2021
Monday, March 29Mark 11:12-19Today we meet “hangry” Jesus. It’s right there in the passage -- Jesus was hungry and got super-frustrated with a fruitless fig tree that wasn’t even in season. (poor fig tree!) Jesus’ case of the hangrys is so bad that his next move is to flip over tables in the temple. We’ve all been there, right? Tired, frustrated, and hungry to such an extent that we just lose it.I...
The Last Sunday in Lent
by Denee Bowers on March 29th, 2021
Sunday, March 28Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. Each day this week we will read a passage of scripture that describes the events of Jesus' final days before his crucifixion. Today, Jesus enters Jerusalem to the waving of palm branches and shouts of blessing. It was surely a high moment for all who were present and the days that follow are an emotional roller coaster.This week's s...
by Denee Bowers on March 27th, 2021
Saturday, March 27Job 42Many moments throughout the course of the past year left me feeling a bit like Job. Everything was so good in 2019. What did we possibly do to deserve COVID-19? I don’t believe that a loving God intentionally led us to experience the wilderness of a global pandemic and subsequent economic decline, the cruel murder of George Floyd or the persistent wildfires in California.Jo...
Our Work // M-Note 1.29.2021Unlikely Friends and Partnerships // M-Note 2.5.2021We Need Lent Now More Than Ever // M-Note 2.12.2021Lent Devotional // Ash WednesdayDay 2Return to In-Person Worship // M-Note 2.19.2021Day 3Day 4The First Sunday in LentDay 5Day 6Generosity - Jane DavisDay 7Day 8Day 9Day 10The Second Sunday in Lent
Day 11Day 12Day 13Day 14Easter Announcement // M-Note 2.27.2021Day 15Day 16The Third Sunday in LentDay 17Day 18Day 19Day 20Day 21Hope Is A Good Thing // M-Note 3.12.2021Day 22The Fourth Sunday in LentDay 23Day 24Day 25Day 26Something New // M-Note 3.19.2021Day 27Day 28The Fifth Sunday of LentDay 29Day 30Day 31Day 32Approaching Holy Week // M-Note 3.26.2021Day 33Day 34The Last Sunday in LentDay 35Day 36Day 37
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