Above is a recording from a church service at Damascus Road International Church slightly over a month ago. Picked that one as it is the one where the pastor introduced DRIC to the many new faces in Maastricht. Check it out if you want to know what the church service is like for the church I'm attending here in Maastricht.
On top of that, I'm involved in DR:UM (Damascus Road: University Maastricht) with their DR:UM nights every wed and Bible study small group every tues.
I quite like it so far, the atmosphere reminds me alot of DI except with alot more people my age (half the congregation are university students). As my bible study group leader mentioned today, it's a place that you just need to go once and it immediately feels like family.
I'll try to learn a little about how things are done here because I think there are good pointers to take home, although not everything is applicable to DI as the context is very different.
I quite like the song the pastor wrote based on the vision of the church for each and every single member. Identifies what we are called to do and at the same time recognise that it is not by our strength but through God's transforming power that we do all these.
To love as Jesus loved us
To teach what Jesus taught us
To obey as He obeyed
As the Spirit gives us strength
We will love as Jesus loved us
We will teach what Jesus taught us
And obey as He obeyed
As the Spirit gives us strength
It's at the very end of the video above if you're interested.
To love as Jesus loved us. I feel like being here in Maastricht, this is something that has been challenging for me because of how it's just out of my comfort zone. On one hand, yea it's great it means opportunity for growth, on the other hand sometimes I'm afraid that I'm just going to end up wasting my time here because I don't know how to go about doing things.
In a way, I feel like I've been... pampered alot in Singapore? Like, somehow the communities I am involved in and the relationships I build just come quite naturally to me. That the people around me have been either extra nice to tolerate all my nonsense. That there are people who understand me well enough, perhaps due to the sheer amount of time we have spent together, that they see beyond some of the things I say or do that may not go so well with others.
Now that I'm here in Maastricht, two things in particular have stood out for me.
One, I'm not good at forming new relationships. I have always built on the ones I already have existing and those came about mostly because circumstances have put us together. This is something I'm forced to learn here as there is literally no existing relationship to build on. So far, I feel like I haven't have had much success.
I think with the Christians in my church here things are fine, but I feel that's mainly because of certain factors like our similarities, having time catered to getting to know one another better, as well as them making the effort to get to know me. Not so much me building it. I do think I have at least one case where I feel like my efforts at forming new relationships have had some success, but if I really want to be salt and light I would need to go beyond that. Not just being comfortable in my Christian communities.
Two, I said I have always built on the ones I already have existing, but I wonder how much have I have built sometimes really. I mean, I do invest in relationships, but in a way that is 'my style', which I think not everyone gets. At the same time, I think I may have some things I do which are barriers to forming strong relationships. Maybe among the friends that I have now, they either are okay with the way I build relationships or they're just used to me being me. I feel like I need to learn how to invest in relationships better.
For starters, one thing I need to be more conscious of is how I speak to people. As a strongly opinionated person who always believed that there are bad and good opinions, maybe I need to speak less and listen more. Sometimes I like to argue when I think an opinion is bad or wrong and sure, I may be dead sure that my opinion is right, but how important is it to try to convince the other person anyway. Perhaps when I decide to correct people should not be based on how far off I think their opinions are from what I believe to the right perspective, but how important is it to correct the person.
A clear example. Steak is best eaten medium rare and should not have sauce on it. I consider that to be an opinion very close to an actual fact. That makes me passionate about arguing about it, that when someone wants to have their steak well done and splash BBQ sauce all over it, it gets me up in arms. I feel like I need to correct this very wrong opinion. Well, that actually happened here...and it didn't go all that well. Is the opinion the person had wrong? Well hell yea please don't eat your steaks like that. Is it important enough that I absolutely must correct the person and have them repent of their ways? Perhaps not.
I am learning at least. I know I'll definitely have things to take away and will grow during my time here in Maastricht. At the same time though, I really hope that more than that, I will also be able to be salt and light, to make a difference in the lives of people while I'm here. That is the part I find more challenging.