What, exactly, is a "Word Zone" meeting?
We mention them quite a bit. Do you know what they are?
At Gospel Joy's Gospel Music Workshops, participants discover - often for the first time - that a person's relationship with God brings them joy.
They witness the joy in the Workshop instructor and volunteers around them. They hear the joyous and soulful lyrics of the music they are learning, and discover that the music was written out of an overflow of joy brought by a relationship with Jesus.
This is a completely new concept to most who attend, and they often want to know more. They also want to remain connected to the joy-filled community they've experienced all weekend.
A Gospel Joy Workshop is a weekend filled with connection, relationship building and joy.
Participants enjoy an electrifying weekend at the workshop.
After the workshop, participants are given the option to attend a weekly meeting where they can find out more and continue the relationships they've started.
That weekly meeting is called "Word Zone."
So, how do our partners put together a meeting that is exactly what Workshop alumni are looking for?
Bartek and Daria Przybyla have been involved with Gospel Joy for a few years, and have been equipped by ITMI's Andrew Gorski, to lead one of the Poznan Word Zone groups. They know exactly how to lead these groups, so that the not-yet-believers from the workshop are in good hands.
Gospel Joy's Bartek and Daria
Here's their recipe for a Word Zone gathering.
1. Choose a neutral, leisurely environment.
Bartek and Daria's Word Zone in Poznan always meets in a coffee shop. This eliminates everything that would make it feel unsafe or closed. It's a neutral environment, a place people might be going anyway by choice. It relaxes people and prepares a warm, safe environment for the Gospel to incubate in.
2. Start at 7pm with 20 minutes for chatting and ordering coffee.
"So, you mean they start at 7:20," you might be thinking. But that 20 minutes is an important part of the overall time. It is important for setting the tone for the evening - warm, comfortable and friendly. This time gives Bartek and Daria a chance to plant relationship seeds that will result in one-on-one meetings throughout the week.
3. Begin by praying.
Praying in your own words out loud is a completely new experience for most of the people coming to a Word Zone. It's the first demonstration of how to be in a relationship with God, something that is also totally revolutionary.
4. Study the Bible while demonstrating a basic understanding of it.
Instead of reading the passage, usually 10-15 verses, then asking what people think about it, Bartek describes the context of the passage and offers notes and information about it. It's kind of like a mini-sermon, but very down-to-earth and practical. It's also open. People can chime in with questions or thoughts.
The leader is demonstrating that it's possible to understand what is written here. He provides personal examples related to the passage.
The believers who are there will chime in with comments like, "This reminds me when I was praying this morning and reading the Bible..." or "I prayed about this and then this happened..." All of it works together to demonstrate a new kind of relationship with a very different God than most are used to.
Hearing this discussion makes people realize these things are possible.
Every week includes a re-telling of the Gospel.
5. End by creating connection points.
After the study time, they break into groups of 2-3. Women with women, men with men. These groups share prayer requests and pray with each other. No one is forced to pray out loud unless they feel like they'd like to.
They described sharing prayer requests as, "...totally strange for most people."
This time generally results in follow up meetings outside the group, which Bartek and Daria are engaged with all week long. They listen to people's stories. There's a real desire for many people to open up and tell their story after years of living in a culture where this is not done very much.
A Beautiful and Incredible Ministry
One week, during the small group prayer time, one man didn't feel comfortable praying in his own words. He said, "I'll kneel and say the Lord's prayer." But the next week, he decided to try what he was seeing demonstrated by the believers around him, sharing his heart with the God who loves, pursues and wants a relationship with His people.
"It was beautiful and incredible," Bartek remembered. That phrase could describe everything that happens once a week at the Word Zone meetings around Poland.
It's beautiful to watch people awaken to a loving relationship with God. It's beautiful to watch lives restored by the freedom of the gospel.
It's beautiful to see people flourish because they've left behind trying to gain the approval of a God who always wants more from them and found a relationship with Jesus, whose yoke is light.
It's also beautiful to see the multiplication that is happening in Poland. ITMI's Andrew and Anna Gorski have faithfully discipled so many, including Bartek and Daria. Now Bartek and Daria are equipped and in place, effectively reaching people with the Good News.
They'd like to be able to maximize the investment that the Gorski's have made in them by serving Gospel Joy full-time. We are praying for 12 supporters to commit $50/month so that could be a reality.
Is that you? Are you ready to invest in spreading the Good News in one of the most effective ways we've discovered?
Would you like to be part of this exciting movement that is sweeping Poland?