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Why Church - Extra - How and What

As we come out of the pandemic Mark asks the question, Why Church? After all this time why should we bother with Church? What has church  got to offer and how can we play our part. Five short thoughts an invitations, plus an extra one at the end with some more detail for those that need it. 

Why Church? - Extra - How and What?

Why church? That's the question I'm asking in this little series, and today I want to address something for those of you that need a bit more detail. I want to address not just the Why church. I'm going to address the HOW and the WHAT. I want to give you five things about the how and the what, of Why church. 

So, I hope that these are helpful for you. The first one is gathered. As a Christian community, we are supposed to gather as we come out of the pandemic, we're moving from this phrase where things were primarily online to a place where we will be meeting primarily ‘In person’, and we want to continue to do in-person gatherings really well, but also on online gatherings really well, and to somehow develop a conversation between those two at the same time, but there also needs to be a continuation of what we had before.

And some of the things that have carried on during the pandemic are local gatherings in homes, in cafes, home groups, small groups where smaller communities gather together, not centrally organized, but locally organized in your street, in your community. To be a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus. And the Bible tells us that Jesus is the head of the church and it describes the church as his body.

So if you are a follower of Jesus, then you and me are part of his body. And we have been included in his family. So, we are supposed to be together. We are supposed to gather, and I think that going forward, that's going to happen in three ways rather than just the in-person centrally gathered locally. It'll be in-person, it'll be online and it will be local in homes or cafes or wherever you meet with your small group.

The next one is accessible. One of the things we've learned over this last 16 months is a new way of making the church accessible to more and more people. And this hasn't just been about streaming and recording services. This has been about making services available, on DVD, or even printed for those who are home bound.

And it's helped us to connect with a group of people that previously were disenfranchised or disconnected from church. So, as we go forward, we want to continue to make church accessible, accessible to those folks that are home bound. So, we're going to look at ways that we can continue to do that, but we also want to continue to make our resources, our worship and teaching resources available digitally as a resource for you and for others to discover.

And that you'll be able to do that as there'll be accessible to you any time. The third one is this, that we want to be resourcing. We have a whole load of things that we do as a church family. And we do them centrally. We do our finances centrally and we do our governance centrally, buildings are centrally organized, lots of things that are much better to do centrally, but I think we need to change the emphasis as well.

We'll continue to have gathered worship, but actually the emphasis needs to be on resourcing. You. For the things that you do, enabling leaders, enabling people to be the people that Jesus has called them to be in their community. So, we've got to do a shift, a shift away from priests and leaders to the people of God, you and me in the places that we live and work.

So I hope and pray that we'll be a resourcing church as we go forward: gathered, accessible and resourcing. The next one is that I pray that we will continue to be biblical. I do think that there is a challenge there because there's a challenge in our culture, increasingly for us to not be biblical, to let go of certain things in scripture for the culture to set the agenda, rather than scripture. Going forward, if we let go of those things, I think we haven't got much left.

So I hope, and I pray that we will continue to be faithfully and lovingly Orthodox in our understanding of Jesus and of marriage and of identity. And you see to go down any other route is to literally give up the person of Jesus. In favour of some divine being who doesn't care very much how we live, but the truth in scripture is that the person of Jesus, came, he came and moved into the neighbourhood as the message put it, he made his dwelling amongst us, and he paid for our sin on the cross. Because he takes sin seriously. And he loves us. So, I hope, and I pray that we will continue to be biblical. The last thing is this that we will be Spirit filled. So, these last two are a bit more intangible for some of you, but they are really important. Spirit filled.

There's this conversation that Moses has with God in Exodus, if you will not go with it. How will we be different from anyone else on the planet?  How will people know that you are with us? If you don't go with us, we need the spirit of God to go with us. So, I encourage you to be attentive to wait on the Lord to receive afresh, the Holy Spirit as we come out of the pandemic. So, five things about the how and the what: that we'll be gathered we'll be accessible, resourcing, biblical, and Spirit filled. God bless. Mark.