Friday, July 01, 2011

Everyday Church

As I think about what to do next in terms of Sunday mornings, I began to think about a series based in Peter's letters. To be honest, I've often shied away from them so that I don't have to try to explain about spirits in prison and the place of the ark in salvation history!

But those things aside, Peter's first letter has alway struck me as an important reflection on life as a Christian in a non-Christian world, and that's just the kind of world in which we generally live in the Western world. We may have some modernistic view that the world around us was once Christian and that the church ought to have a preeminent place in society, but such a world, if it ever truly existed, is long consigned to the past.

Anyway, thinking about Peter's letters, I came across Everyday Church along with one or two other resources and set about reading them through. I haven't got too far into this book, but I do find it refreshing and interesting and thoughtful and helpful as I prepare to outline my ideas.

The book is not a commentary but rather a reflection from a missional perspective on the implications of life for the Christian community in a hostile environment. Seven chapters cover the ideas of life and hope on the margins, what "everyday church" looks like in this context ad some thoughts about the next steps to take. Community, pastoral care, mission and evangelism are all explored.

A few things have caught my eye in the early pages. firstly the idea of storying. Storying is the process of understanding the culture of the people you are trying to reach and then creating a set of Bible stories that cover the key turning points in the story of salvation, along with bible stories that address the barriers and bridges to belief in that culture. I want to find out more about this, o I will need to do a bit of research but it sounds interesting.

The second thing that has caught my eye is a series of questions we need to ask ourselves. Boiled down, they become:
  • Where are the places and activities in which you can met people ('the missional spaces')?
  • What are the patterns and timescales of your neighbourhood ('the missional rhythms')?
  • What 'gospel' stories are told in the neighbourhood (stories about why we are here, what has gone wrong, what are the solutions and what are the hopes)?
There are of course many more questions, but these questions draw us into a deeper engagement with the world around us. It forces us to ask "What does the gospel lok like and sound like for the people of my neighbourhood. It forces me to stop asking why they don't conform to my story and to ask how I can influence their story with God's great story.

I shall continue reading!

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