This is the response I’ve had a few times as I have told people that we are having a regular fortnightly Sunday gathering for anyone who wants to come.
The loose translation is something like ‘ah… so that church you went to start has now actually started’…
full metal jacket movie So… that means that what we were doing previously was ?????….
There’s no question churches gather together. But, in Christendom thinking this has become the end game. This has become the objective – to get as many people as possible in one place at one time. That’s not being facetious. That’s where I lived for a long time. If people were there on Sunday then all was well with the church. If we had a few weeks in a row of low attendance we would ask what was wrong.
Maybe I’m the only one who comes from a church that does that, but when we get focussed on the meeting we often take our eyes off the mission. The western church over the last few hundred years is stunning evidence of that.
For the record, on Sunday we did meet. We had coffee for about half an hour, had a simple worship/prayer experience that Jenny led, I did some teaching on Jesus’ top priority – the kingdom of God – and then Danelle did some stuff with the kids and families that looked at the stuff I was doing but from a more tactile and experiential angle.
We finished with more coffee and muffins. It was a really good time.
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The point I was trying to make as we talked together about the kingdom of God was that "the kingdom is the building and the church is the scaffolding". We spend a lot of time trying to pretty up the scaffolding when it simply exists to ensure the building is created.
As we begin these meetings we are saying that if we find ourselves spending large amounts of time to make them happen then we will have lost focus. I will not be spending the 12 hours it takes to prepare a sermon to get ready for Sunday, nor will we have hours of music practice and everything else that goes into church as we have known it. If we ever get to that stage then we will have lost our way as a missional community.
Its not to say the scaffolding doesn’t matter, but it does help us focus on the fact that the end game is not to have the world’s best scaffolding, but to create an effective building.
So how many people were there on Sunday?
You think I’m really going to answer that?…