|Jon & Dotty Zens|
The texting conversation began as I asked Jon "What do people call your fellowship? Where do you typically meet? What day and time?"
Jon answered by saying "Our fellowship has no name. We meet in homes, rotating. We meet weekly, usually Saturday or Sunday; time varies, usually late morning or later afternoon. You have to appreciate that our oft travels break the flow."*
So what happens when Jon's group meets? They eat together, they sing, they read scripture, they share together in the life of Christ.
Speaking of the groups they encourage as they travel, Jon says that the brothers and sisters who gather
"will often eat for a while and at some point people begin to share what the Lord Jesus means to them, or how He has helped them, or how He has revealed something precious to them."He also says,
"in the course of the conversation, the bread and wine are taken."The bread and wine he's referring to are what we think of as "The Lord's Supper" or "Communion."
So what does this have to do with Crossroads and what I've labeled "Church Family Time" here? Here at Crossroads I've done my best to help our particular church body experience at least a little bit of what we might call "a relational community centered in Christ." We have experienced that in some small groups (at Begarowiczes' on Monday evenings, at Tuesday night prayer, at High School JAM on Wednesdays) and, to some extent, on Sunday mornings... especially during the part of the "worship service" that used to be called "announcements." I started to use the phrase "Church Family Time" because it's always been my hope and prayer that we would recognize Jesus in one another, in the "church family," and not just in one particular church leader or in any group of leaders "up front."
If you look back at the April 19 post "Confident in God's Good Future" you'll see this: "... today... during the church family time, I handed off the microphone, and I just watched you guys at work. I was just standing over there, marveling at how this body functions."
I envision our time together on June 7 to have more "church family time" than anything else. Dotty and Jon are bringing a couple songs for us to sing, we'll listen as Jon does some teaching, but then, I'm hoping that we'll begin to do some sharing ourselves, as we often do during "church family time," speaking up about what the Lord has been saying to us, what Jesus means to us, how He has helped us. Perhaps we'll share in a more informal style of communion too... and, in any case, we'll spend a good amount of time in prayer!
Everything we do must always center on Jesus. Please pray that the Lord will lead us to focus on HIM every day and every week, including on June 7.
* Jon is an author, speaker, editor and "itinerant encourager of relational communities," so he and his wife Dotty do a lot of traveling -- such as their travels to come and be with us on June 7. I met Jon about 20 years ago and have much appreciated his spiritual and scholarly work. Learn more about him at searchingtogether.org.
Here's the announcement that we're planning on putting in the bulletin on May 31:
... On June 7 we welcome Jon and Dotty Zens from Oscola, WI. They will be sharing with us what it means to encourage a "relational community" centered in Christ. Both Dotty and Jon participate in a church fellowship that normally meets in homes for a meal each weekend on Saturday or Sunday. Jon is an author, speaker, editor of Searching Together, and an "itinerant encourager of relational communities." He holds a B.A. In Biblical studies from Covenant College, an M.Div. (church history) from Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, and a D.Min. (Ethics) from the California Graduate School of Theology. Dotty served as activity assistant at a Good Samaritan Center in St. Croix Falls for many years. Since 1977 Jon and Dotty have traveled extensively, encouraging relational fellowships. More info about Jon and Searching Together can be found on a table near the building entrance [on Sunday or below now].MORE ABOUT JON ZENS - ... born in Barstow CA in 1945 and graduated with honors from Canoga Park High School (with majors in English, French and Math). ... Jon has a wide-ranging theological background. Jon's groundbreaking articles in the late 1970s, "Is There a 'Covenant of Grace'?" and "Crucial Thoughts on 'Law' in the New Covenant," were highly instrumental in developing what came to be called "New Covenant Theology."
- Jon's doctoral thesis was published in an edited form in 1997 as "'This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him': The Foundation for New Covenant Ethics and Ecclesiology."
- He is also the author of the book A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile: What Makes American Christianity Tick?, which appeared in 2008.
- His What's With Paul & Women: Unlocking the Cultural Background to 1 Timothy 2 was published in 2010.
- In 2011, two books of his have appeared -- ?No Will of My Own?: How Patriarchy Smothers Female Dignity & Personhood, and The Pastor Has No Clothes. Christ Minimized?
- A Response to Rob Bell's Love Wins was released in 2012.
- 58 to 0 -- How Christ Leads Through the One Anothers came out in 2013.
Since 1977 Jon & Dotty have been in and working with informal fellowships, focusing on living under grace and learning to extend grace to others. They have traveled all over America and ministered in the Philippines, England, Romania, Canada, Ecuador, New Zealand, and Ireland.
From 1970-1975 and 1985 - 2000, Jon worked in three manufacturing companies in aerospace production planning, inside sales, inventory control, engineering support, human resources, purchasing and shipping/receiving. Jon and Dotty have three lovely children and six wonderful grandchildren.