By Littleton Adventist News– Littleton, Colorado … To build community and a family atmosphere, Littleton Adventist church recently launched a new innovative program–monthly Friday vespers hosted in members’ homes.
The gatherings, called Alive, provide opportunities for different age groups–middle school, high school, young adults, and adults–a chance to enjoy a fellowship meal and worship time. The two-hour informal gatherings begin with socializing, a chance to unwind from the week, and to work together as a team preparing the meal. After fellowshipping around the table, participants transition into a worship time planned by the host family.
Reflecting on the concept, Andy Nash, lead pastor at Littleton, explains that families are at the center. “We had seen home vespers programs done elsewhere, so we adapted the concept to our own setting. Initially, we planned to just offer the program for middle schoolers, high schoolers, and young adults at Littleton, with families included as well. But then the church board said, ‘Hey, why don’t we offer this for all ages, including adults?’”
He adds, “The heart of Alive home vespers is families. We want all generations in fellowship together. We invite parents to attend with their middle schoolers and high schoolers. The informal fellowship in homes is very special—parents mingle in the kitchen, preparing supper while the kids run around. Then everyone comes together for the meal and vespers program. Then more mingling into the night.”
The first Alive vespers included 140 attendees. The young adult program was also attended by members from other front-range churches who had heard about the gathering and wanted to enjoy fellowshipping with other believers.
“It was good to be with friends that I knew and I even met some new friends. It was great to connect and worship together. It’s my dream that all of my friends are together, happy, laughing, sharing life with each other, holding and supporting each other, and loving and discovering more about Jesus. And that’s what this was like,” Mikey Archibeque, associate pastor of Denver South Adventist church said.
The community atmosphere is what many will remember about the evening they experienced.
“I like the community. Just to be able to sit next to each other and praise God, sing songs together. That’s what I am taking home.” Flor Osorio, Littleton church member, said.
Tobias Rebant, who recently moved to Colorado and is a Littleton church attendee, echoed Flor’s comments. “I’ve been part of many churches in my life, and the family atmosphere I experienced here is amazing. This is community.”
Community involvement is more than just one church gathering together explains Archibeque. “It’s really important that our churches are all working together and sharing all of our strengths with each other. Sharing people, resources, and most importantly, being with each other and for each other. At this event I could feel the togetherness and unity of coming together as Denver South and Littleton and being a family, a Body, together worshipping, praying, and loving each other. God means us to be One, one church, one family, united in Christ. That’s what these events are all about because we are better together.”
Nash would like to encourage other pastors and leaders in RMC to provide space for fellowship and community to happen. “Our best advice as pastors is to empower the members and families to take the lead. We, as pastors, helped set things up, but then we turned it over to members to lead out. The families host the gathering, rotating to different homes each month. They also plan the potluck supper and the programming. We are there to assist and speak if asked, but we prefer to see members and youth leading out. For our first Friday evening vespers, I rushed around to three gatherings—and I ate at every one!”
–Littleton Adventist News; photos by Andy Nash and Jon Roberts.