I’m starting to wonder what is ‘normal’ for a church community?
What should we expect of each other as we call ourselves a church?
How critical is the whole experience of gathering together?
My musings have come out of the last few months where we haven’t had one single meeting where every person has been able to attend. There’s something in me that wants to have everyone there all the time… but is that normal?.. Is that really just a silly expectation?
I have a feeling it might be…
To have everyone present all the time at team meetings is an ideal, and one of the things we are grappling with is the tension between ideals and reality. The pursuit of ideals can leave you very frustrated, because they are just that – ideals. When you have to live in reality it requires some compromise and some acceptance that ideals are rarely going to get lived out.
Tonight it looked for a moment like there were going to be 5 of us – total – out of 18. That sounds pretty lame but the simple fact was that everyone else was unavailable.
One family are on holidays
One bloke had to work late
One couple are sick and we didn’t expect to see them – but they did make it along.
Another couple had an important ‘one off’ meeting on.
The students were studying for exams…
We finished up with 7 of us – if you count Ellie and Sam (which we do!)
We actually had a very significant time of prayer for each other and for the team as we met together. It was a great night.
I remember in my last church of 300 people or so we would notice when ‘numbers were down’. There would be 200 of those 300 there on any given week, and then some weeks there would only be 120 or so and we would wonder what was happening. Where is everybody???
I guess its just life. In this microcosm of that big church scene, we are actually able to account for each person. No one sat home and watched ‘Idol’ because they couldn’t be bothered coming – they just couldn’t be there. I imagine its often similar on a Sunday at ‘big church’.
I know!… I’m rambling a bit, but I guess where my mind is wandering to is the thought that we really do have to be about much more than a once a week meeting. If we are hanging everything on the weekly meeting then we are really going to struggle. Church must happen in the rythms of every day life.
Is it just my ingrained evangelical heritage that says the weekly gathering really does matter and we need to be there, or does it really matter as much as I feel it does?
I have a sense that if we don’t actually prioritise meeting with each other then it won’t happen. We will just hang out with the people we like or are close to – and that definitely aint a church.
So… we live in the tension.
Its not all about the gathering – we have always said that and now we are trying to live it. But, the gathering is still really important to our corporate well being, to our sense of identity as team.
I haven’t articulated all this very well. I guess I’m just trying to figure out how we function as a small fragile group who are focused on being a missionary team, but who have many other real and pressing demands on life.