Knowing this, and knowing that we're are wondering what to do with our buildings and what it means to be church in the 21st century and how to partner with God in his mission in our community, it makes me wonder too about our expectations of church. Do we, for the most part, still think of church being for churched people? And I'm not talking here about the merits or pitfalls of what we do on a Sunday, I'm talking about the overall idea of why the church exists.
So I began to wonder about how we could write down what to expect, and maybe just as importantly what not to expect, from church. Should we, for example, expect the highest quality of worship, or are we to look for an authentic expression of worship that might not be slick and ultra-professional, but that does the job of connecting us with God? Should we expect to share community through people seeking us out or should we engage actively in being the originators of that community?
And the list grows.
By the way, authentic does not exclude excellence, but it is not overshadowed by it, and community will always require effort on my part if I'm going to benefit from it.
Anyway, I came across a list of "things not to expect" on David Fitch's blog Reclaiming the Mission.
Here are the ones that caught my eye:
Should not expect to come regularly to church for just one hour, get what you need for your own personal growth and development, and your kid’s needs, and then leave til next Sunday.
Should not expect to be anonymous, unknown or be able to disappear in this church Body. Expect to be known and loved, supported in a glorious journey.
Should not expect production style excellence all the time on Sunday worship gatherings. Expect organic, simple and authentic beauty.
Should not expect a lot of sermons that promise you God will prosper you with “the life you’ve always wanted”. Expect sustenance for the journey.
Should not expect rapid growth. Expect slower organic inefficient growth that engages people’s lives where they are at and sees troubled people who would have nothing to do with the gospel marvellously saved.
Should not expect all the meetings to happen in a church building
Should not expect that community comes to you.
If you read the whole piece you will see that there are "expects" that go with each "should not expect".
I wonder what our list might look like?