Saturday, 21 November 2009

Such a great Quote!

I posted this on my fb status the other day but thought it ought to have a slightly longer shelf-life and more reflection. I think it comes from Brian McClaren.
"It's not about church meeting your needs; it's about joining the mission of God's people to meet the world's needs."
Ours is a risky strategy - it is to take a simple parish church Church of England way of doing things and say 'that's great - but it isn't working for us here... the church is dying slowly... it isn't really making any impact - reorganising probably isn't the answer... lets undertake a RE-ORGANISM. We will choose to exercise faith that as we go so we will see fruitfulness, we'll see people coming to faith and loads of other good stuff happening. We'll seek to put our own needs below the needs of a thirsty, hungry and broken world."
We are still doing a lot of working out - we have to overcome the lack of faith that lurks in us that God can do it not just in our lives but in the world around us... as we go.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

"Fewer Services, More Service"

I'm just finishing a book called 'New Monasticism - what it has to say to today's church' by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. A challenging read, though unashamedly American in context, at one point he talks about wanting to introduce a new slogan to churches "Fewer Services, More Service." He is drawing on Jesus' washing of feet and points out that we often remember that Jesus said that others will know we are Christians by our love but we forget that the context for this showing love was in the washing of feet. It is good to have ministries that are focussed on showing love, it is great to have inspiring worship services, it is good to have rituals of foot-washing but we forget that footwashing was something that had to be done, that was need based because feet in those days became filthy. Footwashing was the daily job of a servant tending to the basic needs of a household and we are told to function like this. How much do we pay attention to the care of each others needs? Do we turn up at a Central Gathering or any service of worship with the attitude of 'how am I going to serve the needs of others today?' Do we even know the basic needs of those we worship with? How far, anyway does a worship service permit the genuine serving of need?

One of the things that MSC allows us to do is to grow in this sense of each others needs, to provide opportunity for needs to be met. MSC provides us with fewer services and more opportunity for service. It takes time to form relationships that can meet needs as needs must be disclosed and will only be disclosed where there is trust and trust has to be earned. But there is something deeply attractive about Christians genuinely serving each other because from the overflow of such love others are served and cared for also. I love the quote that David Day had in his fantastic little book about Jesus called 'Pearl of Great Price' "She built a bridge of friendship to my heart and over that bridge walked Jesus." Wow!

Now of course if you are after a church that is focussed on merely on providing services of worship then our vision and practice is not for you. We are making it quite difficult to be part of this church because our times of gathered worship are not seen as the 'be all and end all' but merely part and parcel of a whole life of being a 'follower and a fisher'. We are serious about discipleship, leadership and that being a Christian is supposed to be an adventure for us all not just a select few who relish change.