By Paul Gordon • January 4, 2023
Ben and Ashley Hydock have been members at Terra Saratoga since 2016 and have served in a variety of ways including the worship and audio teams, and currently, as Tribe leaders. Since coming to Terra, they have recognized the desire within our church to gather together and recreate outdoors. The heart in starting a ministry like Elements is to purposefully create events that will allow the people of Terra to enjoy and fellowship in God’s creation.
Elements will not only be for people who call Terra Saratoga home, but also for those outside the church who might be interested in such events, where they can see who we are as a community of Christians. Organically, gatherings in the outdoors among fellow Terra Novians have always occurred, but unintentionally, due to the last-minute nature and limited scope of communication, these events have sometimes excluded those who may have wished to participate. We do not desire for Elements to replace organic happenings, but we believe that by having organized events, we will be able to cast a wider net within our church allowing the entire church to be aware of these gatherings. We hope that this will give individuals and families ample time to fit them into their schedule as well as invite their non-believing friends.
By spending time in God’s creation, we separate ourselves from our busy and hectic lives and quiet our minds, which better allow us to hear from the Holy Spirit. As Christians, this is an important practice. God reveals to us who He is, His majesty and beauty are reflected in His creation. He also reveals to us where we are different from him and how is working to make us more like him. Spending time in nature with the specific purpose to hear from God and see Him was modeled to us by Jesus. If you look at passages such as Luke 9:28, Luke 5:16, Mark 6:31-32, and Luke 6:12, Jesus went off to the wilderness to get away from the crowds, to quiet his heart, and to spend time with His Heavenly Father. If the Son of God thought this was an important practice, how much more should we?
Discipleship is very important to us here at Terra. Jesus left us with one final challenge: to make more and better disciples for Him, and we recognize that Christian fellowship is a crucial step in making better disciples. We cannot do this alone or in isolation, which many of us have found ourselves in far too often. When we fellowship with other believers, we make the space to bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2) and to weep with those who are weeping and rejoice with those who are rejoicing (Rom 12:5). We are commanded to obey Christ in these ways, to serve one another as He did. To make more disciples, we need to interact with the outside world, with those who don’t yet know Christ. Events that are appealing to those outside of the church will allow us more opportunity for God to use us in this way. This is a way that we can have a “low-walled monastery,” meaning we have an environment that is modeled after how Jesus lived, and one with which the world can both see and interact.
The vision for Elements is to have a planned outdoor event every four to six weeks. These events will vary in type and difficulty/skill level. We want Elements to have something to offer for everyone at one point or another. Parents, you are welcome to bring your children if you feel that the event is appropriate for their age and skill level. Additionally, if there is an outdoor activity about which you are passionate and would love to see as part of Elements, please contact Ben or Ashley Hydock, as well as Pastor Matt, and we would love to discuss that with you!
Let’s get outside!