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Encounter Christ Home
  Sunday, December 10, 2017
 
 

Our Story

Encounter is a work of God, and he continues to make it an interesting ride.

We are a community of believers that grew out of the ministry of Sycamore View Church of Christ in Memphis, TN. We began as an outreach project in the gym; 13 people of all ages just doing our best to be available for God to create an experience in genuine community and share Christ’s real life with everyone we possibly can.

The Minister of Discipleship, John Pitman, had received a mandate from the elders to launch a “seeker-friendly” assembly to try to connect with “unchurched” people. John had no desire for such an enterprise, however: what in the world would make unchurched people want to come to church? They’d rather be sleeping, or playing golf, or fishing, or … (not entirely unlike some of the folks who do normally go to church! *ahem*) And after all, the assembly is for the purpose of strengthening the believers (a la 1 Cor. 14).

Well, being the paragon of restraint that he is (*choke*), John went to the Lord first before rebelling against the order, and God said do it. The reasons why have been evident ever since. We had no intention of just creating another church service, however. We saw an immense need to create a place where folks could find God without feeling out of place or awkward throughout the entire experience. We found immediately that many people want to find God, and think that Sunday mornin’ church is the only place to do it. That’s not their world and they don’t ‘fit’ very well though, so they generally don’t wander in. For the souls that did investigate Encounter, however, the difference was obvious. The atmosphere was attractive simply because it was natural and relaxed. We preserve a climate of relational ministry and interaction, doing our best to express the values and principles we see at work in the earliest years of Christ’s church as reflected in Scripture.

The difference with Encounter is that generally if you’re there it’s because you already have a friend there. If you don’t, you certainly will by the time you leave. And with this group, everyone fits because there’s no ‘mold!’ As people we are very different and variety is normal. And just to give an idea of the experience, here is one of the most common comments we’ve heard about Encounter: “it’s so nice to be in a place where you don’t feel like you’re being judged.”

In the fall of 2003, as we were celebrating our second birthday, we suddenly realized that God had grown a church in Encounter with its own unique atmosphere. Our values weren’t tied in to a church campus though; they were tied in with each other. We also sensed that God was calling on us again with a most unexpected leading, much like in the beginning of this project. This time it was to get back to basics, back to origins: launch this group of believers and friends as a home-based church in our community. Relational ministry is the order of the day as we ask whomever we meet into our homes to experience life in common.

So: on April 1, 2004, we launched from the umbrella of a traditional church setting with the blessing of all concerned. We are a relational network of Christians doing our best to love God and love other people.

We are not perfect, but we know the one who is. And we want the whole world to know Jesus Christ as Lord and find the rescue, relief, peace, energy, comfort and salvation that only he can provide.

 


“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another."

John 1.14 & 16