Church Community Service
Going to church is probably the most important thing people do in their lives. Many people center and build their lives around going and talking about what religion they associate with for a couple of hours at the building once a week. People who go to church are always one of many discourse communities that have motivations as well as goals they want to see get finished. However, too many people around the world going to church is much more than dressing up and taking their family to talk about religion. They feel as though it is important that they connect with their beliefs and make peace whenever they have committed something they feel is wrong. To others, it is a way to network with family and friends in a familiar environment with people they can relate to on a personal level. So, it is important to figure out why do people value the experience of going to church? To find out why those values are significant in shaping their lives in a positive way. Lastly, they understand the goals, genres, and participatory mechanisms of the church in are general.
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In any situation being able to connect with those of your similar mindset is significant. This goal is always an often overlooked and underestimated factor that a lot of people take for granted, even people who go to church more than once a week. To find out the goals, genres, and participatory mechanisms of going to church and the church discourse community I did an interview with a pastor of a local church. The person I interviewed was a pastor of the New Direction church in Memphis, Jeremy Matthan. This interview took place on Friday, October 5th over the phone. I asked questions about how people who regularly go to church and asked them how they attained the 6 characteristics of discourse I analyzed the data applying the answers to those question and seeing how well they fit within the guidelines of the 6 characteristics of a discourse community of the people going to church.
I asked him the question “Does everyone have a set of common goals at the church if so what are some of those goals?” His answer to that explains so much about why people go to church. To put it short the goal of the church isn’t to force upon religion or belief on anyone. He explained that people who go to church want to feel a certain feeling of happiness, and love from God, the pastor, and anyone who is willing to give it. They also wanted to connect with families and friends in a certain environment that you can’t find every day, it is as if people are excited about the church in a way that connects people together.
To find out the answer to “Do you have any communication among your members and how do you do that?” Matthan explains that of course, people communicate with each other before, during, and after the church service. The way people communicate with each other during church is one of the most significant parts of the church discourse community. He says this because the whole concept of church is to communicate and talk about your feeling and how things have turned out in your life may it be good or even bad. It is important to talk about yourself and how you because to keep it bottled in is undoubtedly unhealthy for the mind, spirit, and body.
The question “How do you use participatory mechanisms to provide information and feedback to other members of your church?” relates to the part of the participatory mechanism of the discourse community. He says the way people do that is to have church events and talk to people over social media to spread the word about the new direction of the church and all the great things they do. It shows they aren’t afraid of going over the top in hopes of adding new members to their discourse community as they want to expose as many people as possible to the great things about going to church.
The next question is “Do you have any special texts or books that your members primarily use during or even after their church time?” The answer was short and simple to quote him he simply said, “The Bible”. As he furthered explained that the bible is more than just a book as many people who don’t go to church see it as. He says to think about the Bible as a map or a compass. The Bible acts as a guide to lead us down a path to finding ourselves. Then he quotes from the Bible and says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” This quote goes well with the participatory mechanism part of the characteristics of a discourse community.
Do you use any special sorts of words that your community primarily uses? This answer was also answered short but has a lot behind it. He says that while they do use community-specific words like amen or hallelujah he explains to me it’s the feeling behind those words. That all the pastors that speak, speak from the heart and talk like it’s their last moments on the planet Earth. He jokingly says that’s why you see so many pastors sweating when they speak because for some of them they are exercising their mind and spirit as they talk throughout the sermon and their time in church.
The last question I asked was,” Is there a leadership that your church uses? If so, who are the leaders that you feel is the most important?” He says in every church God should be the leader in any circumstance, anytime, anywhere. However, he says every church should have a person who leads the people down the right path towards feeling more comfortable with God. He feels as though he is one of the leaders of the church due to his experience of being in the church community service, but he didn’t like the concept of him being the leader.
The interview after that question had come to an end and those answers to my questions really had me thinking. The complex discourse community that is the church has been analyzed several times over the course of thousands of years. However, when I had done this research I realized that there are many reasons why people go to church. That there isn’t just a set of people who attend church for one specific reason. It is as complex as building a house or reading a book. I hope that