Merge Kicks off Tonight

Last year, we had a bible study a couple times of month called “God in the Garage” (so named because we held it at Logan’s Roadhouse in their “garage” – each Logan’s is built like a house with “rooms” like the living room, den, and even a garage). While it was a success, there were definitely things we could improve.

Being at the same location each week gave us predictability, but it seemed to annoy the staff at Logan’s. People didn’t order much and soon they started “forgetting” about our reservation or bumping us later and later.

We decided this year to shake things up a bit and revamp the program.

Enter: Merge – Where Faith and Life Come Together.

We decided to make a few big changes to the format that eventually brought us to Merge.

First, we decided to change the location each week. It gives variety of both the scenery and the food available, keeping things interesting. Not to mention that everyone has different tastes in restaurants and it makes us less of a burden to a single restaurant.

Second, we decided to go every week. This was a much debated decision. There were definitely good reasons on both sides of the argument. Keeping it every other week meant that it would pretty much go all year long. Also, it was the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, which meant that a 5th Wednesday would throw off the rhythm. Also, if you missed a week, it would be 2 weeks before you could have another opportunity. It’s easy to see how missing one or two in a row could cause a person to just not show up at all. Making it every week allows us to go in a semester format. We have 6 weeks in October and November, ending the week before Thanksgiving. We’ll take December off because it’s usually crazy enough for people. Then we’ll pick it up in January again and end it before Easter/spring break. Then we’ll have one last short session from the end of April through May.

Third, we decided, at least at this point, to stay away from series at Merge. This way, people don’t feel like they have to make each week or they’ll fall behind. Each week, we’re going to tackle a different topic. Some relate to current events and others are great discussions waiting to happen.

This fall’s topics include:

  • Ned Flanders’ Theology: Christianity in the Media – How do TV shows and movies portray Christian characters. What qualities of their faith do they express and which don’t they? What about media coverage?
  • The Afterlife – What happens when we die and what does Christianity and other religions teach?
  • Stem Cells, Ethics and You – What does all the talk about stem cells really mean and what does it have to do with my faith?
  • Angels, Demons and Things That go Bump in the Night – Just in time for Halloween, we’ll look into the spiritual realm and look at things like ghosts and the paranormal as well as angels and demons and see how that all fits with our faith.
  • Creation – We’ll take a look at varying beliefs about the origin of the universe, from science and other religions.
  • End Times – What will the end of the world be like? We’ll look at different Christian views on the end of days as well as some other religions and see what ideas are out there.

We’re very excited about kicking off Merge tonight and are really hoping for a great season!

About Matthew Starner

Matthew Starner is pastor of Journey of Faith Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they help people take their next step on their journey with Jesus.

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