posted on: Jul 24, 2018
Each week, our community group connects in a house somewhere in Tacoma. Sometimes we’re in the North Slope and other times we find ourselves on Salmon Beach (hopefully timed right with a beautiful sunset). On a busy night, it’s a collection of about a dozen adults and a cloud of children.
More often than not, we connect for community and include moments of worship and bible study. But, every once in a while, we do something a bit different. Earlier this year, during Christmas time, we sang carols with a band as we walked house to house. And in the new year, as a community group, we threw a dance party and raised funds to build a learning library for local at-risk preschoolers.
A few months ago, one of my daughters found a painted rock during a local hike. For Tacoma, this is not out of the ordinary, as our house has a pile of these rocks sitting in our kitchen. Some of them are true works of art, while others were created in a ‘slap dash’ kind of way. But, because these were all ‘treasures’ found by my kids, my wife Beccy has to do her best to extricate the mundane rocks that are just taking up space without our children’s knowledge.
That’s when it hit us. Surely, we could use one of our community group meeting times and paint these types of rocks as a group of friends. So, one Sunday, as the Stave family joined dozens of others on KVI beach on Vashon Island, we all got to work collecting rocks. Within about ten minutes, fifty rocks had made their way back into our picnic basket and had earned a one-way ferry journey to Tacoma. The following Wednesday, we gathered together and painted these rocks together as a community group. Some images were abstract designs while others were whimsical characters or floral patterns. On the backs of the rocks people wrote encourage messages, verses, or nothing at all. And, on many of the rocks, our community group friends scribed ‘ncctacoma.org.’
Slowly but surely, these rocks are making their way throughout the landscape of Tacoma. They’re being hidden on city paths, behind bushes, next to fountains. Perhaps on a grey day, when someone is feeling a bit low, they might find one of our rocks and it might encourage them. Or, maybe on a sunny day, they might uncover one of our rocks and it will just be a bit of added delight to an already glorious moment. But surely, just as it is in my house, some of these rocks will make it into homes with mothers asking the same question, ‘now, what am I supposed to do with this one?’
If you’re at church on a Sunday and you meet someone new, and you ask them how they heard about New Community Church, don’t be surprised if they said they were walking through Wright Park and found a rock with our church web address on it. God works in mysterious and surprising ways and I would never count Him out in using something as simple as a painted rock to draw someone to Himself.
Community groups across Tacoma meet regularly to worship, get into the Word and build relationships… not to mention paint an occasional rock. If you’d like to learn more about our community groups at New Community Church or to get information about joining one, please email Wes Swarthout at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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