About the Sermon Series

Where a movement begins doesn’t always indicate where it will end up. Still, there is and always will be a tension between tradition and innovation, the priorities of the past and the necessity of the present, the simplicity at the start and the inevitable complexity that accompanies growth

The church was born on the sandy banks of a river. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the apostle Peter responded to a question the church continues to ask today, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter was unequivocal and quick with a response.

Read Acts 2 for the unabridged transcript, and you’ll find that he said something simple like, “We repent (literally, turn away) from who we are now and get baptized in water in the name of Jesus so we can live in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Since then we’ve managed to clutter the banks of the rivers at which we gather with structure. The structure goes by different names like denomination, creed, catechism, form of church government, and building.

Before you accuse us of being reductionists, know that we don’t believe there is anything inherently good or bad, right or wrong with our extended response to that fundamental question Peter answered, “Brothers what do we do now?”

When they were first imagined and then instituted, the structures were intended to be tools. They were supposed to help us get us closer to faithfully responding to Peter’s inspired proclamation. But too often the structures get in the way as our focus shifts from what was essential to what is interesting.

As DOWNTOWN CHURCH evolves into a community of faith that worships in a building we own, the church will change. Structure does that to you, it’s inevitable. We do need space to accommodate our growth and fulfill the vision we believe inspired the genesis of DOWNTOWN CHURCH six years ago.

But the building and the church inhabiting the building cannot become synonymous. The structure and the spirit cannot be confused. So even as we move to claim this unexpected gift, we will hold all of our hope in the stuff that moth and rust can’t destroy, recalling that when we first gathered the river was home, repentance was how people told us apart, and baptism was what we did.

All six weeks of the sermon series we called Gather at the River are below. And below that are four different cooresponding program covers illustrated by Maria Fabrizio.

The Sermon Audio