July 2020 Benefice News
Come and join us: this seems to be a theme at the moment. For a long time we have been
talking about the church going out there – to others, to serve our communities by showing
and sharing the love of God in practical ways. Preachers and teachers (including me)
have been saying we need to get out there! And possibly stay out there where people are.
A Methodist man (sorry, I can’t remember his name) said recently (I paraphrase) that as
Jesus came and sent his disciples out into the world taking the good news of the kingdom,
the church grew and grew. Then along came a religious virus and the Christians shut
themselves in the buildings and the church stopped growing. And now in 2020, he says,
we are out of our buildings and it seems like the church may be growing again with many
more people than usual listening in to our services, seeking out faith.
I have been reading a book and in it the guy tells the story of some missionaries that went
to Mongolia. They preached the good news and people became Christians. They met in
houses, with all the believers ministering to one another and, the church grew. Then they
gathered together for big celebrations with just a few people taking the lead, and the
church stopped growing. So, they stopped the big celebrations and the church met in
homes again and the church grew. So, they started having celebrations again, and guess
what? The church stopped growing again. This cycle happened a few times until they
realised that it was every member ministry that grew the church and so they only had big
celebrations when there was a reason for them.
A lesson for us here?
Well, here we are having to stay home, unable to have services in church so we are
inviting people to ‘come and join us’; online for morning and evening prayer for our
Sunday services, and many are. We are having some banners made for some of our
churches that say, the church is not just a building…join us online. We want to let people
know that we are still here worshipping God and trying to serve him and our communities.