Sunday, September 30, 2007
Why do so many people find church irrelevant and boring,(and the pub soo much more interesting)? This is a question which has been asked in Christian circles a lot lately and with good reason. It appears that congregations are depleting as the older generation die and the younger generations (who used to replace the church going population), no longer see Christianity as relevant to them. In our visual, excitement and pleasure driven culture, church is hardly the kind of experience modern people would enjoy....or is it?
One of the things which I think most people mourn the loss of is true community. They like the trappings of modern life provided by wealth and material possessions, but dislike the insularity of a day to day existence which focusses on working long hours and caring for the immediate family. Gone are the days when the community knew one another and helped one another. This is why 'feel-good' drama on TV is so popular aand also why 'not so feel-good drama' such as soaps are so important to so many. They provide the gossip (albeit rather dramatic and over exaggerated) and community feel which used to be a part of real life.
It is my opinion that churches can and should be providing this sense of community which is so lacking. It is a community which is clustered around the person of Jesus. He is to be worshipped by us and we should want to deepen our faith whilst we study the Bible, but we are also a church 'family' and should behave like one. All too often we focus on the worship and teaching which is such a central part of our faith but neglect the social contact which is so important to human beings and is a necessary part of their humanity. How many functional and loving families do you know who don't have fun together? But so often we see having fun as Christ's family as an irrelevance, not getiing on with living for Christ etc..Little wonder people don't find Christianity attractive.
Meeting together, sharing a coffee or a pizza, dropping into the pub, having an evening out at the snooker club, organising a girls night in or a bottle of wine around a good film may seem 'secular' but they provide much needed chill out time. They can also open doors to deeper conversations. Community is about caring and spending time with one another. If we don't, then we'll never get to a point when we can work effectively as a team when it really matters. Mission and evangelism is something that works best when meaningful relationships have been created.
Let's try being s REAL Christ lead community. One who cares for one another, one who reaches out to others and one who enjoys being together whether what we are doing is meaningful theologically or just being happy with one another. Be hospitable, love others for themselves and not what they can bring to the church and don't be surprised when they begin to ask what it is that is different about the church because they want to be part of it..