So we do this thing called church every Sunday night here in Ximending, and I want to take some time to tell you about it. I feel like up to this point I’ve always been directing to you the ministry’s website for more details, but, as the website is part of my ministry responsibilities, it has not been updated for a while. So the best update for everyone right is simply going to be straight from the horse’s mouth!
Above are the faces of the Aroma Church. We meet every Sunday night at 8:00 on the second floor of the Aroma Coffee Shop. We sing, we listen, we pray, we hang out. We come early and stay late. Once a month, we eat a big meal together before the service. During the week, we study the Bible and meet up and live life together. We are the Aroma.
Above: This is the Sunday that our late friend Andrew’s parents joined us. They had flown from Plano, IL, to Taipei, TW, to collect the last of what was left of Andrew’s life here on earth. You can read more about Andrew at my blog.
Since the beginning of this year, we started having church services every week. Up to that point, we had been doing worship services in our living room once a month, each time sending out a facebook invitation to hundreds of people and serving a big meal before the service. The tagline became “eating together, singing together, listening together and praying together.” Needless to say, the living room would get packed out. You can watch a video of the very last living room church service. That was in September, and then in October, November, and December, we began having the monthly service on the second floor of the new building, which is now The Aroma Coffee Shop.
Running a weekly church service every week also meant pulling out of attending church every week, so as a team we were commissioned and prayed out by our church family at Oasis. It was a big step, because it meant we were jumping and trusting God with everything. We were officially accepting our collective role as a church-planting team.
Above: Some of the team up front being prayed for by our brothers and sisters at Oasis church, our church family for the last 2-3 years. It was time to go establish our own church family in Ximending.
Running church has been…incredible. Exhausting. Amazing. Busy. Life-changing. Frustrating. Nothing short of Kingdom-living. This is what our Sundays look like:
- Meet in the morning to pray and worship together and discuss any pressing items of business.
- Most of us eat lunch together. Caleb and Miki (the couple that joined the team in December) take off so they can prepare to open the coffee shop at 2.
- The rest of the afternoon, we’re preparing for church, which means some of us are making the bulletins, some are preparing the sermon, some are preparing the power point, others are setting up, others still practicing for worship, others are taking prayer walks and interceding for the people who will come.
- For me personally, there’s never any time for dinner.
- People start showing up as early as 6-6:30.
- At about 7:40, the worship team and pastor and prayer warriors go downstairs to the prayer room to pray.
- Service starts at 8 with announcements and takes off with worship. It ends around 9:30.
- After the service, the fellowshipping and socializing lingers for a quite a while. Sometime after all the madness settles down and enough feet have cleared the area to give us space to clean up, we debrief about the service as a team.
- By midnight, most us may already be in bed, exhausted but excited, and thankful that the coffee shop is closed on Mondays.
At the end of every Sunday, I am completely and simultaneously thankful, humbled and in awe of what God is doing here in Ximen. Lives are being changed. The truth is being preached to every person who is sitting there on a Sunday night. A diverse and international community of love is being cultivated. Creativity is being inspired through music and design and the Word. And the sound of worship fills the building and reaches down to the sidewalks.
This is the church here in Ximen. It’s surprising and wonderful and will change your life. It’s been changing mine for the last 2 1/2 years.