Here are some more thoughts on my recent post where I raised some questions about church and how we do it.
I was discussing this last night with Danelle and some friends. My friend’s church has a recently been experiencing a ‘fading attendance’, with 110 or so ‘on the books’, but only 50 or 60 there on any given Sunday. Ironically their offerings are going thru the roof and they have a huge cash surplus. It seems the people are still committed enough to give large slabs of money even if they can’t get to the service each week. Are they really committed to the community if they don’t front at the Sunday AM gig or is their offering just a conscience appeaser?
I tend to lean towards believing the people are very likely committed to the church in their minds, and they don’t notice or don’t get concerned if they miss a few Sundays. Its usually us as pastors who notice most if people don’t come. It raises the question again ‘what priority do we need to place on attendance at a service?’ Maybe it is worth asking do we expect people to attend too many services?
As I was driving home with Danelle we began to talk about her creative memories stuff (scrapbooking) and how that operates.
As a committed consultant she has the opportunity to attend 2 or maybe even 3 meetings a month to help her develop in her skills and abilities. She goes to just 1. It is enough to help her feel connnected and to keep her inspired. She said that if she were able to go to more she would probably feel more inspired and would be a better more effective consultant.
As well as these meetings she catches up regularly by phone/email/coffee with the other girls ‘up’ from her and ‘down’ from her. It seems this is all she needs to keep cruising along in her position.
Some girls have dropped out of their consultant roles, usually because they are not committed to the task firstly, but also because they do not access the support services that will keep them charged up.
The parallels are obvious.
Danelle is a passionate scrapper and very committed to the whole scene, but it doesn’t take two meetings a week to keep her focused.
Maybe we need to learn from that. Perhaps we can also learn from the way scrappers spread their virus. Of course once you add in $$$ everything shifts in balance a little.
I guess I am still wondering about how we really discern what is our tradition and what is core to the gospel. Perhaps even beyond that I ask ‘what is good healthy tradition?’ and what is binding us up?
We had a really good meeting this morning as a ‘church’. It wasn’t rocket science, but it was as significant as we were willing to make it. Something is stirring in me as I wonder what we need to cling to and what we need to hold loosely. The struggle for me is that in holding some stuff loosely we may ‘blow it up’, whatever that looks like. But I sense we need to push the boundaries of our ecclesiology quite a bit more to see ourselves functioning healthily in this culture.