Fellowship Audubon Society

Fellowship Audubon Society

Article by Matt Scheuneman
On a recent Sunday, I spoke with a group that was walking through our Trellis book. I was asked to speak on the practice of Gathering. Honestly, it wasn’t easy to know how to speak on this outside of what the book said so well. Also, Fellowship does well at gathering on a Sunday morning. Our people hold this as a high value. So, what do I bring to this conversation?

My original thought was to discuss with the group the importance of active participation versus passive consumption. This has been the struggle of the American church for over a decade. Large gatherings. Dynamic speakers. Powerful experiences. Rich and creative music. Not to criticize these as “bad” but to caution that they can easily sway us into a consumer mindset. At Fellowship, we face the same temptation. Or I should say I face this temptation.

I brought in a simple concept, but I needed more clarity on the importance of active participation in Gathering as a practice. I needed a metaphor. My friend and colleague, Brent Crenshaw, knows the power of a good metaphor!

Then, through the wisdom of a child, it clicked.

I read to the group this quote from Tish Warren that is in the Trellis book: “The church’s task is to learn to keep our eyes peeled for how God is at work. We gather each week, watching for the coming king. And with the earnestness of the Audubon Society (bird watchers), we look for the quiet, overlooked glory in our midst, for God’s perplexing yet healing presence in the world.”

A daughter was hanging out with her parents in this group. After I mentioned the quote, I asked, “Does anyone else like to look at birds as I do?” thinking that it made me “old.” Yet, it was this girl who shot her hand up with me.

She went on to tell the group how much she enjoyed watching the birds, especially the hummingbirds. She told us of a rare occurrence where she was able to see two hummingbirds perch. I asked her to tell us what she wanted to do when she saw an awesome bird. She said, “I want to tell someone!”

And within this story, I realized the importance of Gathering.

She taught me through her story that Gathering together for worship and hearing the word is important for SEEING AND SHARING God's goodness.

It is a child-like wonder that I want to have as we engage in worship together. I want to tell my brothers and sisters that our Father is good! Let us press into this.
1. We must be looking for the glory of God in the small as much as in the large. 
So much of our time in modern life is wowed by the extremes. Big dynamic movies. Technological advances. ChatGBT (No, Chat did not help me write this). We are distracted more than at any other time in history. We want bigger, faster, and stronger. Yet, God’s glory can be most seen in the slow, still, small, and quiet.

Notice that when Jesus “snuck away” and met with Moses and Elijah (The Transfiguration – Matthew 17), he was with just three men, high up on a mountain, away from all the chaos down below.

We must slow down enough to notice God’s glory.
2. Sharing the goodness of God with others is a practice needed to be practiced. It’s not like you can flip this on like a light switch. It’s not natural for us to be others focused. We are bent on consumption and self-focused behaviors. And so, like exercise, we must develop the skills to share.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

Children are naturally bad at sharing. My 6-year-old and 4-year-old can testify to this. Yet, as parents, we help them learn the benefit of sharing. Why do we learn this as a child? There is something deeply rich about sharing that benefits another but also benefits us. It brings joy to give away goodness.  
And so, here is what I would like for us to do as a body of believers: become like bird watchers. Observe. Marvel. Enjoy all that God gives you in the time of Gathering. But also share, celebrate, and tell others about the goodness of God.

I don’t remember this brilliant girl’s name, but she is the official founder of the Fellowship Audubon Society. The society that will tell of the beauty that we see of God’s goodness to each other… and also nerd out on some cool birds. Membership is open to anyone who would like to participate!

Matt Scheuneman

Coordinator of Men's Ministry
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