What is a beta service?1
I am what the technology industry calls an "early adopter". I love gadgets, gizmos, and software. That "new technology smell" can be intoxicating to me. When I hear about a new product or idea that interests me, I can't wait to get my hands on it and try it out. Unless it costs a lot of money or involves sensitive data, I don't even mind if it doesn't work perfectly yet. I understand that in the early stages there will be kinks that have to be worked out. But, part of the brilliance with most modern technology and software is that most problems are fixable. Unless there is construction issue (i.e. iPhone 4's antenna), the code can be changed in order to work the kinks out.
When a piece of software is being developed, it goes through several stages before there is a finished, full-featured, fully-stable product. Once the basic code is written, it goes into Alpha testing. This is where the developers run in-house testing to make sure the product is stable. The next step is Beta testing. That is where a group of early adopters act as a giant test group, running the software in real-world environments. During this round, the testers will discover lots of bugs and experience speed-performance issues. These are reported to the developers who refine the program until it is ready to be released to the public-at-large.
That is the phase we are in at Doxa Church. Well, technically, we are really somewhere between the Alpha and Beta phases. But, saying "Alpha-Beta Services" just sounded too weird. We believe God has called us to be a part of a gospel (meaning the good news of what Jesus did for us) movement on the Grand Strand. We have the mission, vision and values (think of it as the basic code, if you are following my geeky analogy). Now we are looking for people to be a part of the team to help flesh it all out. That's where planting a church is so different. To make software, you can just sit in your mom's basement writing code and eating cheese puffs. But, the church is people. The way it is built is through God changing lives through the power of the gospel and knitting hearts together in community.
A Beta Service is where we will be gathering in a very informal setting each Sunday evening. There will be some food, perhaps some music, and I will be working through the values and mission we believe God has given us. To that end, we are looking for three types of people to join us in the Beta stage. We are looking for people that are mature Christians who are involved in church but aren't using the gifts God has given you. Perhaps you are a faithful attender at your church. But you know God has called you to do more. Maybe your church has grown a little stale and inward focused. But you really want to reach and engage our community. Second, we are looking for people who don't attend church any more. You may have been burned by a bad experience or just burned-out from overwork. The church has been described as a hospital. We invite you to join the rest of us who are sick and wounded as we let Jesus make us whole. We are also looking for people who are not Christians and have never attended church. If you have been thinking about the meaning of life, your mortality, the existence of God or who Jesus is, we invite you to come check us out. We are not perfect. In fact, we aren't even good people. We are broken people who have been found by Jesus and are in a process of becoming healthy. If any of these people sound like you, come check out one of our Beta Services. You aren't signing a contract to be a part if you attend. There won't be any high pressure sales jobs. Just a chance for you to figure out if you feel God is calling you.
If you would like to come, please keep an eye on this site or Facebook. We are a baby church with no home yet. So, our gathering places will probably change several times over the next few months. I hope to see you soon!