Monday, August 03, 2009

On not going to church

I happened to see someone the other day who used to come to church. It's been a long time and as far I know the main reason they stopped coming was because it didn't fit with a new lifestyle choice they'd made.

You might be thinking at this point that I'm going to tell you that they left their spouse and began a new relationship with another person. That's not the reason. You might be thinking that it was because they fell out with someone else at church and just can't be in the same room with them. That wouldn't be it either.

Sadly the reason seems to be far more selfish than that. Church, as a gathering of God's people to worship together, to reflect together, to encourage each other and to prepare ourselves for the challenge of total involvement with God's mission, well it just doesn't fit their lifestyle. They are too busy doing other things. And don't think for a minute that these other things are are actually kingdom focused because they aren't. They are a personal choice to do something other.

When we stopped having evening services or celebrations, I rather hoped that we'd all use the time more fruitfully to connect with people far from God. We tried some summer barbecues that worked to a degree, but even we've struggled to make the most of the free time. In the end we tried a housegroup, but people dropped out of that and now we have a prayer meeting that rarely attracts more than four or five folk regularly. So we're back to doing church twice on a Sunday, and while I value our prayer time together, a bit of me can't help thinking we've missed an opportunity somewhere. But that's another line of reflection all together.

So don't give up on the discipline of corporate worship for a Sunday morning foursomes or to spend time in the workshop (my choice if I had one) or to get in to the office when it's quite. Think hard about what you bring to the life of the church as part of the body of Christ and remember how much less we are without you there.

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