Lately I’ve been doing a lot of preaching around the place with quite a bit more to come.
Strangely enough, the last few times I have been to church have left me feeling like I am missing something in my own experience at the moment. I have very much enjoyed being involved with the three churches I have been preaching at and I am trying to hear what God is saying to me in that. At times I have loved being in a community with the spectrum of ages represented, at other times I have found the music has helped me connect with God, and as well as that I have just enjoyed the diversity of people you meet in a larger group.
Now before anyone reads this and thinks I am about to pull the pin on Upstream, I’m not. Not at all. I love what we are doing and I feel deeply committed to it, but there has been a disturbance in me over the last few months as I have found myself missing some aspects of regular church life.
I have often said that my reason for the shift wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the sing and sermon format, but more because I know there are many we would hope to connect with for whom ‘sing and listen’ just isn’t going to work. (In this sense what we are doing in Brighton constitutes a sacrifice of sorts for me. And I’m fine with that – such is the life of a missionary.) We are also concerned not to invest huge slabs of time in a Sunday gig and end up creating a monster that we need to then ‘feed’ and sustain. Travelling light and making our gatherings simple and reproducible is important to us.
I am currently trying to process what God is saying to me (maybe to us) in that. I don’t think it is for us to start something similar.(Crikey – Brighton has way enough ‘sing and sermon’ churches.) But there is a nagging disturbance that I haven’t been able to pin down.
I’ll write more as my head de-fuzzes.