Some of the funniest things in life happen unplanned and spontaneously. And I love those things. Those moments are ones that you never forget. The birth of the Open Arms Fellowship is just one of those moments.
On Sunday nights after our evening service at church, there has always been a group of friends that go out to eat. Honestly, this tradition has continued almost my entire life. When I was a child, we'd go out as a family and when I got into youth and college, I sprang out on my own and did it. Some of the greatest friendships have been birthed and the best conversations have taken place at these Sunday night events. Unplanned, yet scripted beautifully. I can still remember some conversations from more than 10 years ago.
A few weeks ago at one of these weekly events, one of our attenders, Matthew, donned it "The Open Arms Fellowship." Just a fun way to describe a friendly group of people gathering at a local restaurant that can hold a large party (and is cheap) after a day of worshipping the Lord at church. The name stuck and two weeks ago, the official "Open Arms Fellowship" was constituted. Well, not like your normal church, of course, but with a Facebook group where all those in attendance can belong and interact with each other during the week before our next gathering. Our tagline? "We integrate, not segregate" showcasing our ability to welcome visitors. In fact, we elect the "Visitor of the Week" and they get special recognition on our Facebook Group page.
A vital part of the OAF (yes, we know it spells what is normally defined as a stupid, awkward person, but at the OAF everyone is welcome...and that acronym is just plain funny) is our weekly table topics. You faithful blog readers know I love those and incorporate them whenever I can, even on this blog. The beauty of our table topics is the wide span of variety that flows through those discussions. From the deepest of introspection to the silliest of questions. Or, even better, a silly response to a deep question. One OAF attender (who will remain nameless for his protection) when asked his qualities in a member of the opposite sex said, "She needs hair." You just can't make that stuff up. In our most recent gathering, we discussed "When is something 'enough'?" ..."Can Christians ever not be remorseful over their sin?"....and "Should women get to smoke stogies with the men?" Seriously, I don't think any topic is taboo.
I post Table Topics on my blog periodically and will probably bring to this table some of the more vibrant discussions we have, although leave the real deep ones (and incriminating ones) for the OAF table, and see what my blog audience has to say. Your comment could make a special guest appearance at the next OAF gathering.
If you come to our church on a Sunday night, we'll invite you to come join us at the Open Arms Fellowship.....good food, good discussions, and side-splitting laughter.